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Autumn Babies Face Greater Risk of Asthma

by The Kid's Doctor Staff

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New research shows that babies born four months before the peak cold and flu season have a higher risk of developing asthma. The study involved more than 95,000 infants and their mothers in Tennessee. Researchers say the findings suggest that these common infections may trigger asthma.

“All infants are exposed to this and it is potentially preventable,” said Dr. Tina Hartert, director of the center for Asthma Research at Vanderbilt University, whose study appears in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Dr. Hartert said it has been known for some time that babies in the Northern Hemisphere born in the fall are at higher risk of developing asthma but the study is the first to tie this trend to peak viral activity in the winter months.

Researchers found that all babies in the study were at increased risk if they had bronchiolitis, which is a lung infection usually caused by RSV (respiratory synctial virus). But they did find that autumn babies were at the higher risk.

“What we were able to show was the timing of birth and the risk of developing asthma moves in time almost to the day with the peak of these viral infections each winter,” she said.

Hatert said they must now prove that preventing such infections could keep infants from developing asthma.

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