Firstborn children more likely to suffer allergies

Eldest children are more prone to allergies than their younger siblings as a mum's womb develops a stronger immune system with each child

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Mums’ firstborn children are more likely to fall ill and suffer from colds and allergies than their younger brothers or sisters, according to a Japanese survey. This is because a mum’s womb builds up a stronger immune system every time she has a baby.

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Parents of 13,000 school children aged 7-15 were quizzed about their children’s health and allergies. Their answers were then compared to the order in which the children were born.

Of the firstborn children, 4% had rhinitis, conjunctivitis and food allergies compared with 3.5% of second-born and just 2.6% of third-born children.

“It has been established that individuals with increased birth order have smaller risk of allergy,” said Dr Takeshi Kusunoki, who led the survey.

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