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Early life factors that affect allergy development.

ABSTRACT

The incidence of allergic disease continues to rise in industrialized countries. The rapid increase in the incidence of allergic disease throughout the past half century suggests that recently altered environmental factors are driving allergy development. Accumulating evidence suggests that environmental experiences that occur during the first months of life can influence the risk of allergic sensitization. In this Review, we present the evidence relating to specific early life exposures that affect future allergy development, and discuss how these exposures may promote either tolerance or allergic sensitization.