Born to Sneeze?


Born to Sneeze?
Why the season of your birth could determine whether you suffer from allergies.

It seems your health is not all about genetics. The season you are born in may affect how likely you are to suffer from allergic diseases such as eczema. Research published in the European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found evidence that people born in autumn had an increased risk of eczema, compared to those who are born in spring.

The study tested whether epigenetic marks – the marks that tell genes to switch on or off – on a person’s DNA could be behind these seasonal birth effects. Unlike DNA, which is inherited from your parents, epigenetic marks can change in response to the environment.

Researchers looked at the epigenetic mark profiles of 367 18-year-olds on the Isle of Wight and found that the season in which they were born left a print on their genome that was still visible at the age of 18, meaning the season you’re born in could influence the risk of having allergies later in life.

Researchers say there are, of course, other factors that could affect a tendency towards allergies, including variations in sunlight, levels of allergens such as pollen and house dust mites (which vary by season), the timing of a baby’s first chest infection (colds are more common in winter) and maternal diet (price and availability of fruit and vegetables vary by season).


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