Background: Individuals often report allergy to specific aeroallergens, but allergy testing can reveal disparate sensitization. Objective: To characterize the agreement between perceived and actual sensitization to individual aeroallergens in an urban pediatric population. Methods: A total of 253 children were enrolled from pediatric clinics in New York, NY. Detailed questionnaires regarding perceived sensitization and serum specific IgE measurements to 10 common aeroallergens were completed. Agreement between perceived and actual sensitization (sIgE ≥ 0.35 kU A /L) to individual aeroallergens was assessed by Cohen's kappa. Multivariable logistic regression models adjusted for potential confounders were used to test for associations between perceived and actual sensitization. Results: A total of 161 (63.6%) of 253 children reported perceived sensitization to 1 or more aeroallergen, and 203 (80.2%) were actually sensitized to 1 or more aeroallergen. Agreement between perceived and actual aeroallergen sensitization was fair for most aeroallergens, with greatest agreement for cat dander (κ, 0.42; 95% CI, 0.32-0.53) and dust (κ, 0.32; 95% CI, 0.20-0.44). Models adjusted for potential confounders showed nearly 6-fold odds of sensitization to cat dander given perceived cat allergy (adjusted odds ratio, 5.82; 95% CI, 2.91-11.64), and over 2-fold odds of sensitization to Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, Dermatophagoides farinae, dog dander, or grass pollen given perceived sensitization to their respective allergens. Among children with no perceived sensitization, actual sensitization ranged from 5.4% to 30.4%, and was more common for indoor versus outdoor allergens, including cockroach. Conclusions: Children who perceive allergen sensitization to cat, dog, dust, or grass are likely to demonstrate actual sensitization to these individual allergens. Children with no perceived sensitization to allergens are nonetheless frequently sensitized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1591-1598.e4
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2019


  • Aeroallergen
  • Cat dander
  • Cockroach
  • Dog dander
  • Dust mite
  • Environment
  • Pediatric
  • Pollen
  • Sensitization
  • Urban


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