What social and environmental history is associated with pediatric allergic rhinitis?

Updated: Jun 04, 2021
  • Author: Jack M Becker, MD; Chief Editor: Harumi Jyonouchi, MD  more...
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The patient's environment is very important. Ask about the presence of a pet or beddings (eg, pillow, bedspread, comforter [especially containing feathers]) and other home items likely infested by dust mites (eg, carpeted floor, stuffed animals, dusty closet, nonleather furniture) as well as the timing of initial exposure. Many times, exposure to dust, feathers, or pets coincides with the onset of symptoms, making diagnosis and treatment easier. However, patients could become sensitized to indoor allergens by exposure in places other than the home where they spend a fair numbers of hours (eg, schools, daycare center, baby sitters' and relatives' homes).

Questions must be raised regarding any environment in which the patient spends more than a few hours per week. This includes baby-sitters' and relatives' homes, daycare facilities, and schools (classroom pets).

For children younger than 3 years, ask about the child's bed. Cribs or toddler beds that use crib mattresses do not have dust mites because of the plastic covers, but standard bedding (bed mattress) can harbor dust mites.

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