The sample: Following discussions with boards of education in and around Hamilton, Ontario, approval was obtained for a pilot study of the prevalence of asthma and airway hyperresponsiveness in 300 grade 4 children in East Halton, 40 km southwest of Toronto. Seven of 18 elementary coeducational schools in this region were randomly selected, and all children in grade 4 in these schools were invited to participate through information mailed to their parents. Children were excluded if their parents had difficulty comprehending the study because of language or if parental consent was withheld. The procedures were then explained individually to each child, whose written consent was also obtained.
The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of St Joseph’s Hospital, Hamilton, Ontario and the Research Committee of the Halton Board of Education.
Procedures: A questionnaire based on that developed by the International Union Against Tuberculosis (IUAT) and used in previous studies in New Zealand and Australia was mailed to the parents for self-completion of health information regarding their child. This questionnaire sought information regarding ethnic and socioeconomic status, and health information including a physician diagnosis of asthma, a history of wheezing, cough, dyspnea, atopic illness and medications used. Symptoms were defined as current if they had occurred in the past 12 months. If this questionnaire was not returned, the information was sought by one researcher by telephone.
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The seven schools were visited during the fall and winter months, after the end of the ragweed pollen season. A physician interviewed each participating child using a structured questionnaire. Information was obtained from the child regarding occurrence of recent upper respiratory tract infections, recurrent dry cough, wheezing (including trigger factors, frequency, duration and treatment), nocturnal symptoms, exercise tolerance, days lost from school and hospitalization due to wheezing illness.
Category: Airway responsiveness
Tags: Airway responsiveness, Asthma, Methacholine, Symptom reporting