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Genetics & Environment

Allergies can start at any age. In some cases, they fade during the transition to adulthood, but this is not a rule, especially in families where several members are allergic.

Often, children inherit the same allergic profile as their parents, with a similar trend, sometimes more important.

The increase in the last 30 years of the number of allergies is due to an environmental cause, yet not clearly elucidated.

Viruses seem to have some protective effect: children with older siblings usually are more exposed to viruses in childhood, and seem to become less allergic.

Pollution, although often suspected, has not been clearly demonstrated as increasing allergy incidence. Indeed, the incidence (number of allergies) is the same in cities and in rural areas and does not change depending on the degree of pollution. However, it is established that pollution can worsen allergies already present (increased breathing difficulties in particular).

It also seems obvious that breastfeeding is protective against the development of allergies, but this notion has not yet been clearly demonstrated in the medical literature.


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