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Does One Set of Allergies Make It More Likely For Me (Or My Child) To Have Another?

Does One Set of Allergies Make It More Likely For Me (Or My Child) To Have Another?

Medically Reviewed By:
Dr. Shuba Iyengar, MD, MPH
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Dr. Shuba Iyengar, MD, MPH
After graduating from UC Berkeley, Shuba completed medical school at Duke University, earning her MPH in tandem at UNC. After a research fellowship at the NIH, Shuba completed her residency at Stanford, then fellowship in allergy-immunology at Boston Childrens/Harvard.

Shuba returned to the Bay Area to join Dr. Bocian at a large multi-speciality health system where she helped lead an allergy practice. She cofounded Allermi to make expert allergy care more accessible for all.
Written by:
Katelyn Johnson, B.S., M.B.A, CMA
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Katelyn Johnson, B.S., M.B.A, CMA
Katelyn Johnson is a freelance writer, Certified Medical Assistant, and Nationally Registered EMT with 8+ years of clinical experience across multiple specialties. She has a Bachelor’s in Biology, Master’s in Healthcare Administration, and is currently obtaining a Bachelor’s in Nursing. Katelyn is an advocate for providing patient education in an approachable way through online resources.

Yes - this is known as the allergic march. The allergic march is the stepwise progression of one allergic disease leading to another, often starting early in life. Multiple studies and experimental data have supported this idea. These allergic conditions include eczema, food allergies, seasonal allergies and asthma. All of these diseases have dramatically increased in recent decades and now affect 1 in 5 people living in developed countries.

 

Baby Eczema. The typical progression or “march” that most often starts out in babies is eczema. Eczema is now very common in young infants and can occur as early as 1-2 months of age, with more than half of babies having it before their first birthday. Fortunately, most childhood eczema gets better with time. One study looking at children with a history of eczema showed that the eczema improved in 82 of the 94 children by 7 years of age.

Seasonal Allergies. Studies have shown that infants with eczema are more likely to developseasonal allergies and asthma later on.  One study showed that 45% of children with eczema went on to develop allergic rhinitis, or seasonal allergies. 

Asthma.  About 70% of patients with severe eczema go on to develop asthma compared to the general population, in which only 8% are affected. Only children with the mildest eczema did not develop either asthma or seasonal allergies. 

Food Allergies. There has been a significant rise in immediate reactions to food, or food anaphylaxis. Eczema and food allergy are often seen together, particularly in children with early onset, severe and persistent eczema. Food allergy is known to trigger eczema flares in babies and the prevalence of IgE-mediated, or immediate reactions to food, in babies with eczema is about 35%.