Infants who experience fevers before their first birthday are less likely to develop allergies by ages six or seven, according to a new study funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The study, published today in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, lends support to the well-known "hygiene hypothesis," which contends that early exposure to infections might protect children against allergic diseases in later years.
The prevalence of asthma and allergies has increased dramatically worldwide in recent years," says Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of NIAID. "This study provides evidence that diminished exposure to early immunological challenges could be one of the reasons for this trend."
"The hygiene hypothesis is widely recognized but largely unproven," says Kenneth Adams, Ph.D., who oversees asthma research funded by NIAID. "The findings of this study strengthen the hypothesis and, after more research, could lead to preventative therapies for asthma and allergies."
Paul Williams | NIAID News
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