(iVillage Total Health) - A snoring child may be cute to some people, but it could very well be a sign of allergies and allergic diseases, according to a new study.
Researchers in Australia studied 219 children 5 years old and younger from the Australian Childhood Asthma Prevention Study (CAPS). All of the children had rhinitis, an inflammation of the inner lining of the nose that occurs when an allergic person encounters an airborne allergen such as pollen, mold, dust mites or animal dander. Sneezing, coughing, a runny nose, sore throat and itchy or watery eyes are typical symptoms. An estimated 20 percent of Americans have allergic rhinitis, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
The Australian study identified 213 children with rhinitis who snored to some extent. According to their parents or caregivers, 60 percent of the children snored at least once a week, including more than one-quarter of the children (26 percent) who snored more than three nights a week.
"Our findings were consistent with the view that snoring forms part of the spectrum of allergic diseases in childhood," Dr. Nat Marshall of the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia, said in a press release. "Snoring can be an early manifestation of more serious sleep-disordered breathing, so it's not necessarily a harmless condition. In adults habitual snoring is seen as being caused by anatomical problems in the airway or obesity. But in children it seems that snoring is much more closely related to allergy and inflammation." Marshall noted that previous studies have found strong associations between snoring and allergic or inflammatory diseases.
He added: "Our data hopefully contribute to a clinician's ability to effectively spot snoring in pre-school children in order to identify potentially more serious obstructive sleep apnea."
The study was published in the June issue of the Pediatric Pulmonology journal.
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