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Hygiene factors associated with childhood food allergy and asthma

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Background:

Childhood food allergy and asthma rates are increasing. The hygiene hypothesis has been proposed as an explanation for the increased incidence of allergic disease.

Objective:

To describe the association of childhood food allergy and asthma with hygiene factors, such as the number of siblings, antibiotic use, infection history, pet exposure, child care exposure, and maternal‐child factors.

Methods:

Children ages 0‐21 years old (N = 1359) were recruited for a cross-sectional family-based study, including children with food allergy and children without food allergy, and their siblings. We assessed the associations between childhood food allergy and asthma with hygiene factors.

Results:

Of the 1359 children, 832 (61.2%) had food allergy, and 406 (30%) had asthma. In the adjusted analysis, the prevalence of food allergy was increased if there was a history of skin infection (prevalence ratio [RRR] 1.12 [95% confidence interval {CI}, 1.01‐1.24]) or eczema (RRR 1.89 [95% CI, 1.70‐2.10]). The prevalence of asthma was increased with a history of respiratory syncytial virus infection (RRR 1.60 [95% CI, 1.34‐1.90]) or eczema (RRR 1.54 [95% CI, 1.27‐1.86]). A greater number of siblings were associated with a decreased prevalence of food allergy (RRR 0.79 [95% CI, 0.75‐0.84]) and asthma (RRR 0.82 [95% CI, 0.74‐0.91]).

Conclusion:

Our findings supported the accumulating evidence of an association between skin infections and eczema with food allergy. Because these results could be subject to recall bias, additional prospective studies are needed to substantiate these findings.
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Keywords: Hygiene factors; asthma; cohort; eczema; food allergy; hygiene hypothesis; pediatric; respiratory syncytial virus; siblings; skin infections

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Publication date: November 1, 2016

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma and by having the potential to directly impact the quality of patient care. AAP welcomes the submission of original works including peer-reviewed original research and clinical trial results. Additionally, as the official journal of the Eastern Allergy Conference (EAC), AAP will publish content from EAC poster sessions as well as review articles derived from EAC lectures.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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