Information was collected at birth and at 5 and 10 years of age on the national cohort of children born in one week of April 1970 (the Child Health and Education Study). For 11 465 children, information on wheezing attacks before 5 years was compared with reports of wheezing occurring in the 12 months before the interview at 10 years. Of 2345 children who had had at least one wheezing attack before their fifth birthday, 80% (1869) were free of wheeze at 10 years; only 8% of children who had just one wheezing attack by 5 years wheezed in their 10th year. The more attacks the child had had by the age of 5 the higher the risk of continuing to wheeze at the age of 10, but there were no major differences in prognosis according to the age of the first attack. Half of the children who had been labelled asthmatic at the age of 5 were wheezing at the age of 10 compared with an eighth of those with wheezing not so labelled. There was little evidence to suggest that the prognosis of wheezing with bronchitis was markedly different from that of children with other episodes of wheezing provided they were not said to be asthmatic. A longer follow up is necessary to ascertain whether remission at the age of 10 is followed by relapse later.
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