Childhood Asthma: A Clinical Study in Southern Nigeria
Keywords:Childhood Asthma, Nigeria, School Absenteeism
Childhood bronchial asthma is a major cause of chronic respiratory morbidity and mortality and its worldwide prevalence has been noted to be on the increase. This study determines the hospital prevalence and severity of childhood asthma and some associated risk factors.
A cross - sectional hospital / questionnaire - based study carried out on Paediatrics patients attending the respiratory clinic of the University Teaching Hospital from 1st July to 31st December 2013, using a questionnaire.
The hospital prevalence of childhood asthma was 1.2% (40/3318) with a male to female ratio of 3.4:1. The mean age at onset of symptoms of asthma was 4.24 ± 3.36 years. The most common recognized trigger factor for exacerbation of asthmatic symptoms was extreme cold seen in 29 (72.5%) patients, while the most common identified early childhood risk factor for development of asthma was a positive family history of asthma in 21 (52.5%) patients. Thirty five of the subjects (87.5%) had mild intermittent asthma. More males than female (p = 0.689) and more adolescents than children under ten years (p = 0.117) had persistent asthma. Males had a significantly higher frequency of asthma - related hospital admissions (p - 0.023).
The low prevalence of asthma of 1.2% seen in this study may be due to the hospital - based nature of the study that may be a poor representation of the prevalence of childhood asthma in the community. The male preponderance and increased frequency of hospital admissions among the males is similar to findings of other studies.
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