Day Care may Cut Asthma Risk in Kids

According to a latest study, toddlers and infants who attend day care have less possibility of developing asthma symptoms by age 5. This study was done by Nicolaou, MD, and his colleagues from University of Manchester, England.

The Study:

Nicolaou and his colleagues examined 900 kids right from their birth to age 5. They studied the impact of day care attendance and other environmental exposure on the asthma symptoms.

Day care and Reduced Asthma risk:

According to Nicolaou, day care may be most protective for kids who have genetic risk of asthma. The following are the observations by the researchers regarding the connection between day care and reduced asthma risk:

  • Kids who entered day care between the age group of 6 to 12 months had a decrease of


    in the risk of wheezing, which could be an initial sign of asthma

  • Kids who entered day care after their first birthday had


    reduction in the risk compared to the children who did not attend day care

According to Nicolaou, kids who enter day care between the ages of 6 and 12 months may have protection against asthma. However, this has to be confirmed by further studies.

Factors that Increase the symptoms of asthma:

The following factors in kids increase the risk of wheezing at age 5:

  • Mother having asthma
  • The child being male
  • The child being tested positive for allergic sensitivity
  • Mother having smoked during pregnancy

In this study, attending day care decreased the asthma risk in kids. However, having siblings had no difference in the asthma risk in kids. According to Nicolaou, this is because day care exposes kids to lot of children compared to siblings, who may be few.

This study supports the hygiene hypothesis. According to hygiene hypothesis, exposure to infectious agents, microorganisms and parasites in early life decreases the risk of developing allergies by boosting the immune system.

This study supports the hygiene hypothesis but does not prove it. If this study follows the kids into adulthood, then this may be a strong evidence for hygiene hypothesis.

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