BETHESDA, Md., Feb 09, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Infants experiencing fevers during their first year are less likely to develop allergies by age 6 or 7, a National Institutes of Health study shows.
Those exposed early to infections were already believed to be less likely to develop allergies later. The study by the National Institute of Infections Diseases supports the so-called "hygiene hypothesis."
The study tracked medical records of 835 children from birth to age 1, documenting any fevers at or above 101 F. At age 6 or 7, about half the children were tested for common allergies stemming from such items as dust mites, ragweed and cat hair.
While about 47 percent of those who had one fever before age 1 became allergy-prone by age 6 or 7 -- compared with half of those who had no fever -- only about 31 percent of the children who had two or more fevers as infants later developed allergies.
Those who had ear, nose and throat-related allergies had particularly low risk of developing allergies, the researchers said.
Copyright 2004 by United Press International.