Background: Asthma and allergic diseases account for school absenteeism and may limit academic and social opportunities for a substantial number of students, because they are common chronic disorders affecting school-Aged children. We evaluated the prevalence of asthma and allergic diseases in Korean children, as well as associated school absenteeism. Methods: We administered a questionnaire-based survey to 148 asthma-friendly schools from 14 counties or cities in Gyeonggi province in South Korea. The questionnaire was modified from the ISAAC questionnaire, which consists of 13 questions regarding prevalence of asthma, allergic rhinitis, and atopic dermatitis, and the impact of these conditions on school attendance. Results: A total of 41,062 subjects (aged 7-12 years) were enrolled in this study. The overall lifetime prevalence of asthma, allergic rhinitis, and atopic dermatitis was 5.3%, 38.4%, and 25.0%, respectively. Among subjects who had ever been diagnosed with asthma, 9.1% missed school due to asthmatic complaints. Many subjects with allergic rhinitis (3.2%) or atopic dermatitis (1.8%) also responded that they had missed school because of their diseases. Subjects with current symptoms or having undergone a recent treatment for allergic rhinitis or atopic dermatitis had a significantly increased risk of missing school due to asthma. Conclusion: Asthma and allergic diseases present a substantial health and socioeconomic burden, as demonstrated by the prevalence and related school absenteeism among school-Aged children in Korea. Coexisting symptomatic allergic rhinitis and atopic dermatitis are associated with increased risk of school absenteeism due to asthma.
- allergic disease