Babies born before peak flu season at higher asthma risk

Children born four months before peak flu season have a greater risk of developing asthma than those born at any other time of the year, US research suggests.

Photograph: J H Lancy/HML
Photograph: J H Lancy/HML

Tina Hartert and colleagues from Vanderbilt University analysed data from 95,000 children in Tennessee. They found that the winter virus peak immediately following birth predicted asthma development, independently of other factors.

Birth at that time was associated with a 30% increased risk of developing asthma.

‘We have shown that there is variation in the risk of developing asthma by the timing of birth in relationship to the winter peak for each year studied,' the researchers say.

‘This supports a causal relationship of childhood asthma with the winter virus peak after birth.'

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