Allergic rhinoconjunctivitis in the Australian population: burden of disease and attitudes to intranasal corticosteroid treatment.

BACKGROUND:

Allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (AR/C) is a global health problem causing significant morbidity and has a major impact on quality of life (QOL) and health expenditure. Despite the widespread prevalence, the overall health impact of AR/C may be underappreciated. The results of a survey designed to capture the burden of allergic rhinitis within the Asia-Pacific region have been published recently. Of particular note when evaluating treatment in this region was the fact that despite the value of intranasal corticosteroid (INCS) use, only a small percentage of patients used them. Whether this same trend is present within the population of Australian sufferers is unknown. This study examines the burden of AR/C and explores use of, and attitudes, to INCS sprays in the Australian population.

METHODS:

Three hundred three completed interviews from adults and children who had physician-diagnosed AR/C and who were symptomatic or had received treatment in the previous 12 months were analyzed for QOL measures and attitudes to INCS use.

RESULTS:

Most patients surveyed had received their diagnosis from a general practitioner (GP), and in most cases, a GP provided the majority of ongoing medical care. Only 8% of respondents had consulted a relevant specialist. Diagnostic tests had not been performed in 55% of respondents. The major symptoms causing most distress were nasal congestion and ocular symptoms. The burden of AR/C was considerable; 42% described significant work or school interference because of symptoms, one-third reporting moderate-to-extreme interference with sleep. Despite the significant impact on QOL reported by this sample, 17% had never used INCS and 27% had not used them in the previous 12 months. Respondents' knowledge about INCSs was poor.

CONCLUSION:

AR/C is a common disease associated with significant morbidity and impairment of QOL. Improvement in diagnosis, management, and patient education is needed.

 

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Allergic rhinitis - practical management strategies.

BACKGROUND:

Allergic rhinitis is a common condition associated with significant effects on quality of life. Readily available treatments can improve outcomes in rhinitis as well as associated allergic diseases such as asthma. Yet allergic rhinitis remains underdiagnosed and undertreated.

OBJECTIVE:

This article outlines practical strategies and evidence based management of allergic rhinitis.

DISCUSSION:

Allergic and nonallergic rhinitis often co-exist. Thorough history of allergen exposure and its relationship to symptoms is vital for the ordering and interpretation of investigations and for management decisions. Some allergen avoidance measures may be ineffective and may cause an unnecessary burden. Demonstrated effective strategies are patient education, intranasal steroids and immunotherapy ('desensitisation'). General practitioners play a vital role in all three strategies, and in supporting patients and families to self manage what is often a chronic condition.

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10th ICA 2014 – Sydney

For only the second time in its history, the International Association for Aerobiology held its conference in the Southern Hemisphere.

The University of Western Sydney Campbelltown Medical School was the venue for the 10th International Congress on Aerobiology September 22-26 2014. This was organised by Prof Connie Katelaris as Congress Chair and Mrs Pamela Burton as Secretary-General.

World experts from a number of scientific disciplines including botany, meteorology, mycology, microbiology, immunology, public health and medicine, gathered to exchange knowledge and expertise in the field of aerobiology. Climate change and its impacts were strong themes throughout the conference with the need for measurement, standardisation and automation strong recommendations. The last day of the conference was devoted to clinical problems associated with pollen exposure and a number of experts spoke on allergic rhinitis and asthma and how aerobiology may be applied to clinical practice.

There were representatives from Canada, USA, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Spain, UK, Japan, India and Australia in attendance. The four keynote addresses were delivered by Prof Guiseppe Frenguelli ( President), Dr Bernard Clot (incoming President),Prof Carmen Galan (editor, Aerobiologia) and Dr Dorota Myszkowska (executive member).

The congress coincided with the 40th Birthday of ICA. A highlight of the week for overseas delegates was a visit to the Australian Botanical Gardens and Plant Bank at Mt Annan.

An important outcome from the Congress is the admission to ICA membership of the newly formed Australasian Aerobiology Association with its first president and vice president Connie Katelaris and Ed Newbigin respectively – both have been involved with aerobiological research in Australia for many years.

 

CH Katelaris
Sydney

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