What is the role of allergens and irritants in the etiology of pediatric asthma?

Updated: Jan 08, 2019
  • Author: Girish D Sharma, MD, FCCP, FAAP; Chief Editor: Kenan Haver, MD  more...
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In patients with asthma, 2 types of bronchoconstrictor responses to allergens are recognized: early and late. Early asthmatic responses occur via IgE-induced mediator release from mast cells within minutes of exposure and last for 20-30 minutes.

Late asthmatic responses occur 4-12 hours after antigen exposure and result in more severe symptoms that can last for hours and contribute to the duration and severity of the disease. Inflammatory cell infiltration and inflammatory mediators play a role in the late asthmatic response. Allergens can be foods, household inhalants (eg, animal allergens, molds, fungi, roach allergens, dust mites), or seasonal outdoor allergens (eg, mold spores, pollens, grass, trees).

Tobacco smoke, cold air, chemicals, perfumes, paint odors, hair sprays, air pollutants, and ozone can initiate BHR by inducing inflammation.

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