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Early Exposure to Fungi Raises Risk of Wheezing

Early wheezing more common in those exposed to spores and pollen in the first three months of life

THURSDAY, Feb. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to spores and pollen in the first three months of life affects children's risk of early wheezing, according to a report published online Feb. 24 in Thorax.

Kim G. Harley, Ph.D., of the University of California-Berkeley, and colleagues conducted a study of 514 children who were followed from before birth to 24 months of age. The researchers looked at the influence of fungal spore and pollen concentrations during the time of birth and assessed prevalence of wheezing from medical records.

Babies born in the spore season of autumn to winter were more likely than babies born at other times of the year to develop early wheezing (adjusted odds ratio, 3.1), the investigators found. There was also a positive association between blood levels of Th1 cells at 24 months and mean spore concentrations during the first three months of life, while there was a negative association with mean pollen concentrations, the researchers report.

"Few studies have examined the roles of spore, pollen and particulate matter exposures in the early postnatal period in the development of childhood asthma or chronic wheezing. One strength of this study is that it linked date of birth to specific periods of elevated ambient allergens," the authors write. "Despite the small number of cases, we found several risk factors to be significantly associated with early wheezing."

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