Childhood eczema linked to adult asthma

CHILDREN who have eczema, particularly that accompanying hay fever, are nine times more likely to develop allergic asthma in their 40s, a study reveals.

The survey of about 1400 people found up to 30 per cent of allergic asthma within the population sample could be attributed to a history of childhood eczema and hay fever.

The participants were initially assessed about their allergies and childhood environment in 1967, at seven years of age, and were followed up in 2004, at the age of 44.

Lead author Pamela Martin, a University of Melbourne PhD candidate based at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, said the study showed the importance of rigorously treating childhood eczema.

“In this study we see that childhood eczema, particularly when hay fever also occurs, is a very strong predictor of who will suffer from allergic asthma in adult life,” she said.

“The implications of this study are that prevention and rigorous treatment of childhood eczema and hay fever may prevent the persistence and development of asthma.”

The study was conducted by the institute, the University of Melbourne, the Menzies Research Institute and Monash University.

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