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Exposure to Indoor Allergens in Relation to Asthma: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)

Monday, September 22, 2014 — Poster Session II

4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

FAES Academic Center




  • D.C. Zeldin
  • R. Jaramillo
  • K.M. Rose
  • A. Calatroni
  • H.E. Mitchell
  • P.J. Gergen
  • R. Cohn
  • M.L. Sever
  • S.J. Arbes
  • P.M. Salo


Numerous studies have examined allergen exposures in relation to asthma; however, most have focused on single allergens or selected populations. We examined allergen exposure in relation to asthma in a nationally representative sample of the U.S. population. Cross-sectional data were obtained from NHANES 2005-2006. Asthma diagnosis, current asthma symptoms and participant characteristics were queried by questionnaire. Atopic status was assessed by measuring levels of specific IgE against 19 allergens by ImmunoCAP. Concentrations of dog, cat, dust mite, cockroach, mouse, rat, Alternaria and Aspergillus allergens in bedroom vacuumed dust were measured by immunoassays. Exposure to allergens and allergic sensitization were common in the U.S. population; half of participants had at least 6 detectable allergens in their bedrooms and 44.6% of those aged 6 and older were sensitized to at least 1 allergen. Both allergic sensitization and allergen exposures showed clustering patterns. 14.7% reported a prior diagnosis of asthma and 8.8% reported current asthma. Among atopic individuals, increasing levels of dog, cat, and mouse allergens were most consistently associated with asthma-related outcomes. Dose-response relationships between allergen exposures, allergic sensitization and asthma were allergen-specific. We conclude that residential allergen exposures are important risk factors for asthma morbidity in atopic individuals.

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