A Japanese study which surveyed over 13,000 children between 7 and 15 years old reveals that birth order has an association with the pervasiveness of allergic reactions like eczema or asthma. The researchers were looking into the significance of birth order on allergic reactions including atopic dermatitis, rhinitis, conjunctivitis and food allergy and observed that firstborns, in particular, were more likely to suffer from allergic symptoms such as hay fever or pink eyes.
In fact, the study found out that food allergies were prevalent in firstborns by up to 4 percent; up to 3.5 percent in second-born children and up to 2.6 percent prevalence in later-born ones.
"It has been established that individuals with increased birth order have a smaller risk of allergy," said the study’s leader, Takashi Kusunoki, a pediatrician at the Shiga Medical Centre for Children and Kyoto University in Japan." However, the significance of the effect may differ by allergic diseases," he added.
In order to prevent second and third children from acquiring the same allergies as the firstborn, pediatricians are recommending that mothers eliminate from their diet the food types said to trigger the allergies of the firstborn. Breastfeeding is recommended as well as it has been known to help ward off sensitivity to allergens.
SOURCES: • March 23, 2011. “Order of the Child and Allergies – The Subtle Links” AboutAllergy.net • March 21, 2011. Ashish Singhal. “First-born more prone to experience allergies” Aajkikhabar.com • March 25, 2011. Lister Maraon. “Firstborn kids more prone to food allergies: study” Faxiamen.com