Toddlers with a sensitivity to house dust mites have an increased risk of developing asthma by the time they're 12, new research suggests.
The study included 620 Australian children with a family history of allergies who were followed from birth to age 12. The children were given a skin prick test at ages six months and one and two years to check for sensitivity to different allergens and then tested at age 12 for asthma.
Asthma was diagnosed in 75% of the children who tested positive for sensitivity to house dust mites when they were infants, compared with 36% of those who didn't have a sensitivity to dust mites.
"Our study did not show house dust mite caused asthma but it highlighted a strong correlation between sensitivity and more severe wheeze and asthma," said lead author Dr Caroline Lodge, of the School of Population Health at the University of Melbourne.
Identifying groups of high-risk children may help researchers learn more about asthma development and find ways to prevent it, she said.
The study was published online in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
The American Lung Association has more about asthma and children.
SOURCE: University of Melbourne, news release, Aug. 24, 2011
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