Babies who suffer from bronchitis, pneumonia and chest infections are more likely to develop asthma and lower lung function when they are older, according to new research.
Lower respiratory tract infections are common in babies and evidence has suggested that they can affect the development of the respiratory and the immune systems.
This leaves children prone to getting chronic respiratory diseases, such as asthma, later in life. An international research team have published new findings in the European Respiratory Journal.
An international research team have published new findings in the European Respiratory Journal.
The study was led by experts at Erasmus MC University Medical Centre Rotterdam.
It shows that children with early life respiratory infections have a higher risk of developing chronic obstructive respiratory diseases by the time they are at school.
The research involved Southampton asthma specialist Professor Hasan Arshad. Professor Arshad is head of the asthma, allergy and clinical immunology service at University Hospital Southampton and a key contributor to the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre. He is a professor at the University of Southampton.
Insights from 150,000
Researchers examined data from 150,000 children across Europe aged from six months to five-years-old.
Professor Arshad explained: “Previous research has reported that early-life respiratory tract infections might affect the risk of wheezing or asthma in later life. Conclusive studies from general populations were lacking. Only a few focused on lung function.
“Our research looks at data from a large number of children, including those from the Isle of Wight birth cohort. It shows a stronger link between early-life respiratory tract infections and the increased risk of developing chronic obstructive respiratory diseases later in life.
“We found that children who had suffered lower respiratory tract infections had a higher risk of developing school-age asthma than those with upper respiratory tract infections.”
Upper respiratory tract infections include croup, ear infections, throat infections, rhinitis and colds. Lower respiratory tract infections included bronchitis, bronchiolitis, pneumonia, and chest infections.