Chance of allergy 'depends on season of birth'

A child's chance of developing an allergy could depend on the season in which the youngster was conceived, experts said today.

Babies whose first three months in the womb occurred in springtime are more likely to suffer from food allergies, such as to milk and eggs.



About 11% of children whose 11th week of development in the womb was in April or May were more likely to suffer food allergy, a study found.



This compared with 6% of children whose 11th week was in December or January.



Overall, the April/May group was three times more likely to be sensitive to milk and eggs than the December/January group.



Experts have already shown a link between pollen and food allergies, and the latest study supports this association.



Checks on pollen levels over the study period showed that levels of birch and alder pollen peaked during April and May.



The research, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, involved 5,973 children born between April 2001 and March 2006 who lived in south-east Finland.



Of this group, 18% had tested positive for food allergies by the time they were four.



The results showed that by this age, sensitivity to food allergy varied according to month of birth, from 5% of children born in June/July to 10% for October/November.



Previous research has shown that babies born in autumn or winter are more prone to eczema and wheezing, identified by higher levels of circulating antibodies to allergens in their blood than those born in spring or summer.



Experts believe babies in the womb begin to produce antibodies at around the 11th week of development. Antibodies to specific allergens develop by around 24 weeks.



The authors, from Oulu University Hospital in Finland, said: "We found a higher incidence of positive results in food allergy tests among children born in October or November than among those born in other months in an unselected population.



"The incidence of such results was particularly high and especially pronounced for milk and egg among children who had their 11th gestational week in April or May, the season during which the concentrations of pollen from birch and alder are highest in the area concerned.



"Children whose 11th gestational week falls in April/May might also be more heavily exposed than other children to viral infections and deficiency of vitamin D in their neonatal period occurring in mid-winter, which may also have an impact on their immunological development."



George Du Toit, consultant in paediatric allergy at St Thomas' Hospital in London, said: "Although interesting, and in keeping with other study findings in this field, the findings are not of a significance that would warrant changes in families that wish to minimise allergy outcomes in their offspring."



He said while seasonal environmental factors during pregnancy could interfere with the process of developing antibodies, such a link remains controversial.

Suggested Topics
News
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
businessUber, Snapchat and Facebook founders among those on the 2015 Forbes Billionaire List
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Homer’s equation, in an episode in 1998, comes close to the truth, as revealed 14 years later
science
News
news
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

    Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

    Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

    £26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

    Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Developer - London - £45k

    £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Application Support & Development ...

    Day In a Page

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
    A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

    It's not easy being Green

    After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
    Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

    Gorillas nearly missed

    BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
    Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

    The Downton Abbey effect

    Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
    China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

    China's wild panda numbers on the up

    New census reveals 17% since 2003