May 5, 2006

Day care increases risk of allergy symptoms

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Preschool age children who
attend day care have a heightened risk of developing
respiratory and allergy symptoms, according to results of a
study conducted by Swedish researchers.

Dr. Linda Hagerhed-Engman, of SP Swedish National Testing
and Research Institute, Boras and colleagues examined the
effect of day care attendance and age on respiratory and
allergic diseases in children between the ages of 1 and 6

The parents of more than 10,800 children completed a
cross-sectional survey. Along with respiratory and allergy
symptoms, questions focused on the home environment and
information about day care.

In the last 12 months, compared with children in home care,
children in day care had more symptoms, including an increased
risk of 33 percent for wheeze; 56 percent for cough at night;
23 percent for doctor diagnosed asthma; 15 percent for
rhinitis; 75 percent for doctor diagnosed hay fever; 49 percent
for eczema; and 27 percent for food allergy.

In addition, the odds of having more than six colds in the
last 12 months was increased by more than 2.5-fold, and for
ever having an ear infection by more than 2.0-fold, among
children attending day care.

The increased risks were most pronounced for the youngest
group of children, those between the ages of 1 and 4 years.

In light of the significant increases in allergic diseases
in Sweden over the last decades, the researchers conclude that
the "findings justify a significant public health concern."

SOURCE: Allergy, April 2006.