Eczema, Hay Fever Leads to Adult Allergic Asthma

30 percent of allergic asthma originate from childhood eczema and hay fever

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) 40-year-old birthday presents are full of bad jokes about aging and black balloons. Another bad joke may be around the corner for people in their 40's who had childhood eczema and hay fever.

A recent assessment using data gathered in 1968 and again in 2004 found a link between childhood eczema, hay fever and adult onset allergic asthma. The researchers estimate almost 30 percent of current allergic asthma of the population can be attributed to childhood eczema and hay fever.

"Aggressively treating children's eczema and hay fever may lead to adult allergic asthma."

Lead author Pamela Martin, a University of Melbourne PhD student based at the Murdoch Children Research Institute, observed that children with eczema were nine times more likely to develop allergic asthma as an adult.

She hypothesizes that the aggressive treatments used in childhood may have made them more susceptible to the development of allergic asthma as an adult.

She added that her assessment is a first in distinguishing between allergic and non-allergic asthma occuring after childhood eczema and hay fever.

Associate Professor Shyamali Dharmage, principal investigator of the Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study (TAHS) and the University of Melbourne's School of Population Health, noted currently very  few interventions are in place to stop this march from eczema to asthma.

In Depth

  • The study used evidence from a clinical study of around 1400 grown up participants
  • This study is a follow-up of Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study (TAHS) which is the largest of its kind in the world
  • In the TAHS, participants were assessed in 1968 about their allergies and environment  when they were seven years of age
  • In 2004, the same participants were assessed again at age 44
Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 17, 2011
Last Updated:
April 18, 2011