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October 1962

The Role of Allergy in Viral Respiratory Tract Infections

Author Affiliations

Geraldine L. Freeman, M.D., University of Colorado Medical Center, 4200 E. 9th Ave., Denver 20, Colo.; Gerber Fellow in Pediatric Allergy (1960-1961) (Dr. Freeman).; From the Department of Allergy Research, Research Foundation, Children's Hospital of the District of Columbia.

Am J Dis Child. 1962;104(4):330-334. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1962.02080030332002

Introduction  The exact interrelation of respiratory infections and allergy has been in dispute for years.1-5 Whether such illnesses as colds, bronchitis, and pneumonia are "trigger" mechanisms6 to the asthmatic attack or act by aggravating allergic reactions already in progress,7 or whether infectious agents "sensitize" the bronchial mucosa remains unsettled.1 The variety of terms that combine allergic and infectious connotations that are used to describe respiratory infections in the allergic individual—"intrinsic asthma," "asthmatic bronchitis," "infectious asthma," "asthmatoid bronchitis"—reveals the debatable status of this problem.6 Clarification of this question is made difficult by the lack of viral diagnostic studies in such cases and is further complicated by the uncertainty in distinguishing clinically between respiratory tract infection and allergic coryza.2,6This study attempted to determine whether the wheezing which occurred in children with viral respiratory tract illness was associated with an allergic diathesis in these children. The

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