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The prevalence of asthma has increased dramatically over the past several decades. While hereditary factors are highly important, the rapid rise outstrips the pace of genomic variation. Great emphasis has been placed on potential modifiable early life exposures leading to childhood asthma.
Methods - We reviewed the recent medical literature for important studies discussing the role of the perinatal and early childhood exposures and the inception of childhood asthma.
Results and Discussion - Early life exposure to allergens (House dust mite (HDM), furred pets, cockroach, rodent and mold)air pollution (nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and particulate matter (PM)) and viral respiratory tract infections (Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and human rhinovirus (hRV)) have been implicated in the development of asthma in high risk children. Conversely, exposure to microbial diversity in the perinatal period may diminish the development of atopy and asthma symptoms.
Gaffin, J. M., W. Kanchongkittiphon, & Wanda Phipatanakul (2014) Perinatal and Early Childhood Environmental Factors Influencing Allergic Asthma Immunopathogenesis, Int Immunopharmacol. 22(1):21-30.