Charts from individuals who filled out a questionnaire and underwent skin testing at Kaiser Permanente clinics in the greater Sacramento area in the year 2000 were pulled for review. 566 subjects had a physician diagnosis of allergic rhinitis or asthma and were included in the analysis. Grass pollens (60% of patients), olive pollen (57%), and dust mites (49%) were the most frequent positive skin tests in patients with allergic rhinitis or asthma. Sensitization (i.e., a positive skin test) to mold allergens was much less common, but Alternaria was the most common mold allergen extract giving a positive skin test (24% of patients). Young adults from ages 20-39 had more positive skin tests than other age groups. Logistic regression analysis showed grass pollen sensitization to be significantly associated with asthma. Positive skin tests to cat or dog were more frequently seen in patients with moderate/severe asthma than mild persistent asthma. Overall, our results indicate a high frequency of sensitization to grass pollens and olive pollen in both patients with allergic rhinitis or asthma from the inland valley areas of Northern California, suggesting that these are the key pollens, and Alternaria the key mold spore, to examine in future studies of aeroallergen/pollutant interactions in California.
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