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Study finds link between early contact with certain allergens and lower risk of childhood asthma

Last Update 06/04/2021

Children exposed to a range of germs during the first year of their life are at a lower risk of asthma and allergy, according to a new study.


Children that come into contact with a range of germs found in household dust during the first year of their life are at a lower risk of developing asthma and allergy, according to a new study.

The research, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, is part of a wider project which aims to understand why asthma tends to be more common and severe among inner-city children.

In this study, researchers examined data from 104 babies that live in urban parts of Baltimore, Boston, New York City, and St Louis, USA. They looked at exposure to common allergens alongside wheezing and skin-prick allergy tests.

The researchers found that steady contact with most of the allergens during a child’s first 3 years was associated with more wheezing and allergic reactions. However, when they focused on the babies’ first year, the opposite was true. At this stage, higher levels of exposure to allergens from cockroaches and mice were linked to a lower risk of wheezing and allergy when the children reached the age of 3 years.

This finding could lead the way to new approaches to protect children against asthma and allergy, though more research into different populations is needed.

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