The aim of the study was to determine the incidence of food and house dust mite (HDM) allergy in patients with nasal congestion and rhinorrhea attending the Otorhinolaryngology Clinic, National University of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. This was a prospective matched, controlled study of patients skin prick tested with commercial food and common aeroallergens. The participants were 148 Malaysian adults with symptoms of nasal congestion and rhinorrhea and 113 adult Malaysian control subjects without rhinitis symptoms. The skin prick test (SPT) was used to evaluate 11 foods common to the Malaysian diet and 3 HDM inhalants. Forty-eight percent of the patients with rhinitis had positive SPT results to foods, compared with 4.4% of control subjects (P < 0.05). The most commonly implicated foods were shrimp (48%) and rice (30%), which are common in the Malaysian diet. Seventy-two percent of rhinitis patients had positive SPT results to HDM, compared with 22.2% of control subjects (P < 0.05). Patients with rhinitis also had significantly more gastrointestinal problems than control subjects (P < 0.05). The incidences of HDM and food allergy are significantly greater in Malaysian adults with rhinitis symptoms than in control subjects without rhinitis. The effect of avoidance or immunotherapy awaits further study.
Study site: Otorhinolaryngology Clinic, Pusat Perubatan Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (PPUKM), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia