Does swimming pool attendance affect asthma and allergy risk?

Researchers at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, in Barcelona, Spain, studied whether swimming in infancy and childhood was associated with asthma and allergic symptoms at age 7 and 10 years.

First, the details.

  • Data from 5,738 children on swimming were collected by questionnaire at 6, 18, 38, 42, 57, 65, and 81 months.
  • Data on rhinitis, wheezing, asthma, eczema, hay fever, asthma medication, and potential confounders were collected through questionnaire at 7 and 10 years.
  • Spirometry (measure of lung function) and skin prick testing were performed at 7 to 8 years.

And, the results.

  • At age 7 years, fewer than 50% of the children swam at least once per week.
  • Swimming frequency did not increase the risk of any measured symptom, either overall or in atopic (predisposition to allergic hypersensitivity) children.
  • Swimming was associated with increased lung function and lower risk of asthma symptoms, especially among children with pre-existing respiratory conditions.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Swimming did not increase the risk of asthma or allergic symptoms in British children.”

This is the first study to follow children over time for an association between swimming pool exposure and asthma and allergy risk.

4/2/11 21:00 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.