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Fungal spores and pollen increase risk of wheeze

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Early exposure to high levels of fungal spores and pollen during the first months of life increases a child’s risk of wheezing, US research reveals.

The research, published in the journal Thorax, assessed whether there was a correlation between birth month and increased levels of specific airborne allergens in 514 children. The researchers found 35 of the children were diagnosed with wheeze by the age of two.

They found those born between mid February to March 2000, and between late August 2000 to early January 2001, were three times more likely to wheeze before the age of two than children born outside those months.

These months coincided with the periods of highest circulating levels of outdoor fungal spores, the authors said.

Exposure to two particular types of spore – basidospores and ascospores – during the first three months of a child’s life was associated with a significantly increased risk of wheeze, they said.

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