Childhood Respiratory Infections May Raise Asthma Risk
Lung infections in young children increase their risk for developing asthma and poor lung function later in life, according to a new study. This research was presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress.
The study involved 154,492 European children. Researchers discovered that children who had had an upper respiratory infection – cold, sore throat, or ear infection, for example – by the age of 5 had a 1.5 times higher risk of developing asthma, and those who had a lower respiratory infection, like bronchitis or pneumonia, by age 5 had a two- to four-times higher asthma risk. Lower respiratory infections in childhood also increased the risk for worse lung function later in life.
It’s too early to prove a cause-effect relationship between childhood respiratory infections and decreased lung function later in life, researchers say, and they suggest more studies to determine whether respiratory infections cause asthma symptoms or asthma symptoms increase the risk for respiratory infections.