While pregnant women generally try to avoid being around those who sniffle and sneeze, experts are now saying they should take extra precautions around those with a cold.
A new study showed that women who catch a cold during pregnancy have a higher chance of giving birth to a baby with asthma or an allergy.
Published in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the researchers found that expectant mothers who are exposed to infections or bacteria can affect their baby’s environment in the womb.
Allergist Dr Mitch Grayson said: “In addition, these same children that had early exposure to allergens, such as house dust and pet hair, had increased odds of becoming sensitised by age five.”
According to the American College of Allegry, Asthma and Immunology, both of these can also be hereditary.
Researchers studied 513 mothers-to-be as well as their 526 children. Of the families examined, 61% of infants had a parent with asthma, hay fever or atopic dermatitis.
They found that those born from parents with allergies have a 75% chance of developing an allergy themselves, while infants who had only one parent with an allergy have a 30 – 40% chance of having some sort of allergy.
ACAAI president and allergist Dr Michael Foggs said: “We know that allergy and asthma can develop in the womb since genetics play a factor in both diseases.”