Risk factors for allergic disease in the first two years of life
A cohort of 2000 women was recruited in early pregnancy when blood was taken, a full family history of allergic disease was obtained and skin prick tests were performed. Data about diet during pregnancy were collected from a food frequency questionnaire. Information on symptoms of allergic disease, smoking and home environment, illness history, antibiotic usage and infant diet were all requested by postal questionnaire at 6, 12 and 24 months of age. A sample of 151 children had skin prick tests performed to determine allergic status at two years of age; 10% were positive. As expected male gender and maternal atopy were associated with wheeze in the first two years of life, while maternal atopy was the only consistent association between the administration of antibiotics and early wheeze. Some non-significant trends were found suggesting an inverse association between maternal dietary vitamin C showed trends towards a positive association as did total fruit intake. Maternal plasma vitamin C also showed a positive association with wheeze in the second year of the child’s life. No association were found between selenium or n-6:n-3 fatty acid ratio and wheeze or eczema in the first two years of life. Antibiotics given for non-chest/cold or non-skin conditions in the first six months of life were associated with wheeze and eczema in the second six months and second year of life.