Autumn Babies More Prone to Asthma
With more sources of internal pollution such as out gassing from plastics, pet dander and food allergies. The health of babies is also at risk for the time of year they are born, although the study urges parents not to worry about Fall births but to use simple precautions to protect their babies health.
Autumn Babies More Prone to Asthma Winter viruses may be to blame, study suggests Posted November 21, 2008
By Serena Gordon
FRIDAY, Nov. 21 (HealthDay News) -- The season of a baby's birth may help predict that child's risk of asthma, new research suggests.
Babies born in autumn -- about four months before the peak of winter virus season -- have almost a 30 percent increased risk of asthma compared to babies born at other times of the year, reports a study in the first December issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
"Children in the Northern hemisphere born in the fall months have the highest rates of asthma, which suggests that winter viruses, like RSV, cause asthma," said study senior author Dr. Tina Hartert, director of the Center for Asthma Research and Environmental Health at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, in Nashville, Tenn.
"What we need to prove now is that preventing these viruses could prevent asthma," she added.
The current study, which included a group of more than 95,000 infants born between 1995 and 2000, hoped to answer that question.
All of the infants were part of the Tennessee Medicaid program and were followed from birth through early childhood to see if the timing of birth in relation to winter virus season had any effect on the development of asthma.
And, the researchers found that it clearly did. Babies born in the fall, which is generally about four months before the peak of the winter virus season, had a 29 percent higher risk of asthma, according to the study.
For fall-born babies, said Hartert, the winter virus season tends to coincide with a vulnerable period of development, where babies are transitioning from maternal antibodies to their own. But, she said, babies' immune systems aren't really developed until about 6 months of age.
Appleyard said that parents shouldn't worry if they've had, or are going to have a fall baby, "because no one specific trigger is going to be the cause of all asthma."
However, Hartert, Appleyard and Stein all suggested that parents might want to take steps to try to reduce the risk of infection. If it's at all possible, said Stein, try to avoid day care before the age of 3. Hartert said that parents should also employ good hygiene and infection-control measures, such as staying away from sick children and washing their hands frequently.