Fall Babies Have Higher Risk of Asthma

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Apples and leaves in a fall displayWhat's the best time of year for a baby to be born? Having grown up the son of an accountant, I would naturally say as close to December 31st as possible, without going past. That way, you get a full year's tax deduction for only a day or so of parenthood. My wife, on the other hand, would say the spring -- April or May -- so that they are closer to being the oldest in their class than the youngest; it positions them better developmentally or something. You might have your own thoughts on the matter and the reasons for them, but I think everyone can cross the Fall off their list.

It turns out that kids born in the fall, four months before the peak cold and flu season, have a higher risk of developing asthma -- thirty percent higher. That kids born in the fall have higher rates of asthma is not something newly discovered -- what is new is the link between the date of birth and the cold and flu season that has just been identified.

Dr. Tina Hartert, director of the center for Asthma Research at Vanderbilt University and her team studied 95,000 infants in Tennessee and found that babies were at increased risk of asthma if they had bronchiolitis, an infection caused by RSV, and that babies born in Autumn where even more at risk. "What we were able to show was the timing of birth and the risk of developing asthma moves in time almost to the day with the peak of these viral infections each winter," said Dr. Hartert.

The next step is to determine whether or not preventing RSV and bronchiolitis affects the likelihood of developing asthma. "That is where we are now. We need to prove that preventing this infection prevents this lifelong chronic disease," explained Dr. Hartert. The best way to do that would be with a vaccine, but as yet, there is none. So, in the meantime, I guess the best option is to avoid giving birth in the fall.


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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.