7 Surprising Facts About Asthma

SURPRISING FACT #4

If your child had eczema as a baby, she is at higher risk for developing asthma later.

"Most parents don't know about the link between eczema and asthma," says Dr. Welch, "and it's even surprising to many physicians that there's a strong connection between a condition that affects the skin and one that affects the airways."

In what doctors call the "allergic march," many kids who have eczema as a baby go on to develop allergies (often food allergies in the toddler years and/or airborne allergies in later years) and then asthma. Eczema often disappears by age 5, though. "And if you treat hay fever early, especially with allergy shots, it may lessen a child's risk of developing asthma later," notes Dr. Slankard. After your child is evaluated with skin tests or blood tests and found to have allergies, you can then minimize her exposure to what she's allergic to, start using medicine, or consider allergy shots (immunotherapy).

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