Secondhand smoke may cause increased allergy risk in children
Secondhand smoke has been proven to cause an increase in asthma symptoms with young children, but a new study now shows that it may also increase the risk of developing some allergies. Dr. Eva Lannero of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and other Swedish researchers tested pre-kindergarteners who were exposed to secondhand smoke as babies.
They determined that the children were more likely to become allergic to indoor allergens such as dust mites and cat dander as well as develop food allergies. Dr. Lannero and her team found that exposure to cigarette smoke may cause an inflammation in the lining of young children?s airways. This may sensitize them to allergy-triggering substances.
Blood tests were run for antibodies to certain common allergens on four-year-olds born between 1994 and 1996. Those exposed to secondhand smoke when they were two months old had a 28 percent greater likelihood of antibodies to dust mites and molds or food allergens than those exposed at one or two years of age. Their cat dander and food allergen antibodies were 50 percent greater than those of children who had never been exposed to cigarette smoke.
The results of this study can be found in the medical journal Thorax.