Prevalence and triggers of allergic rhinitis in the United Arab Emirates

Bassam Mahboub, Suleiman Al-Hammadi, Vijayshree P. Prakash, Nabil Sulaiman, Michael S. Blaiss, Abdulla Al Redha, Deepa M. Vats

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Methods. This cross-sectional, population-based observational study was conducted in the seven Emirates (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al-Quwain, Ras Al-Khaimah, and Fujairah). It used the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS II) to screen for allergic rhinitis in people living in this region.

Background and objectives. Allergic rhinitis is a morbid condition that is frequently overlooked by patients and physicians. This type of atopy has not been adequately investigated in the United Arab Emirates.

Results: Symptoms of allergic rhinitis were present in 85 (7%) of the 1,229 study population. Only 33 (39%) patients received treatment. Seventy-six (89%) patients had asthma. Thirty-seven (44%) patients were poly-sensitized. Symptoms were aggravated by dust (59%), grass/pollens (44%) and proximity to animals (21%). Winter was the peak season (37%), followed by spring (30%), autumn (18%) and summer (15%). Grass/pollen allergies were clustered in the winter, spring and summer (p ≤ 0.001). Dust was non-seasonal (p ≥ 0.121) and animal allergy was worse in the winter (p = 0.024) and spring (p = 0.044). Spring symptoms were less common in people living in the inner city (p = 0.003).

Conclusions: At least 7% of the studied population had allergic rhinitis. Most (71%) of these patients had environmental triggers and remained untreated. Allergic rhinitis awareness and measures to control allergens and dust are needed. The impact of preventing allergic rhinitis on other common atopies in the region deserves future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number19
JournalWorld Allergy Organization Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2014


  • Air pollution
  • Allergens
  • Constructions
  • Fine dust
  • Gulf region
  • Nasal mucosa
  • Pollen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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