School children can be screened for asthma and respiratory allergies using a simple questionnaire. A study validating the student questionnaire – and an alternative questionnaire for parents – is reported in the July issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
Children ages 7 to 13 answered nine questions at school about their breathing and allergy symptoms. The answers were then compared to the results of double-blinded clinical examinations of those students. The investigators found that the answers to the questions were generally predictive of a diagnosis of asthma or allergies. A parallel questionnaire completed by the parents of the children also was predictive, but not quite as strongly so.
“The student and parent questionnaires offer a new tool for finding unrecognized asthma and allergies among school children,” said Robert Miles, M.D., who chaired the coordinating committee for the multi-center study. “For many years children have been screened at school for vision problems and hearing disorders. Now we’re able to offer a simple screen that helps identify those with suspected asthma and allergies so they can be referred for a professional diagnosis.”
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