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Early-Life Daycare Attendance Potentially Linked to Lower Risk of Asthma and Allergic Diseases

AAAAI News Release

February 5, 2024

Candace Archie, Communications & Public Relations Manager
(414) 272-6071

Research shows children attending daycare had clinically significant lower IgE levels and lower rates of food and perennial aeroallergen sensitization

MILWAUKEE – Daycare attendance is protective against food and perennial aeroallergen sensitization according to new research being presented at the 2024 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Annual Meeting in Washington, DC later this month.
The impact of early-life daycare attendance on the development of asthma and allergic diseases could significantly influence later childhood health, the study concluded. To explore the effects of daycare attendance, researchers collected demographic and clinical measures from consenting mothers and their children in the Puerto Rican Infant Metagenomic and Epidemiologic Study of Respiratory Outcomes (PRIMERO) cohort at Hospital Interamericano de Medicina Avanzada-San Pablo, Puerto Rico.
“Puerto Rican children bear a disproportionate burden of asthma and allergies, compounded by an overrepresentation of the socioeconomic and environmental determinants associated with these conditions,” says primary author Jonathan Witonsky, MD, MAS, Assistant Professor in the Pediatric Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Bone Marrow Transplant at the University of California, San Francisco. "Findings from the PRIMERO birth cohort offer crucial insights into the impact of early-life exposures, including daycare attendance, on the development of childhood asthma and allergic diseases."
A total of 2,100 children are enrolled in the ongoing study with blood samples collected for total IgE and allergen-specific IgE testing during the 2-year visit. Researchers used regression analyses to explore the association of daycare attendance in the first year of life with total IgE levels and allergen sensitization. Daycare attendance status, total IgE levels and allergen-specific IgE measurements were available for 559 children, of which 22% attended daycare. Daycare attendance in the first year of life was associated with lower IgE levels (coefficient: -0.41 log IU/mL, P < 0.01) and decreased occurrence of food (OR: 0.56, 95% CI: 0.36 to 0.85) and perennial aeroallergen (OR: 0.57, 95% CI: 0.34 to 0.93) sensitization.
The findings suggest that early-life exposures in daycare may be protective against allergen sensitization. This is an important step in understanding prevention and potentially lowering the risk of asthma and allergic diseases in children.  
Visit to learn more about childhood asthma. Research presented at the 2024 AAAAI Annual Meeting, February 23-26 in Washington, DC, is published in an online supplement to The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) is the leading membership organization of more than 7,100 allergists, asthma specialists, clinical immunologists, allied health professionals and other professionals with a special interest in the research and treatment of allergic and immunologic diseases. Established in 1943, the AAAAI has more than 7,100 members in the United States, Canada and 72 other countries and is the go-to resource for patients living with allergies, asthma and immune deficiency disorders.