TUESDAY, Sept. 19, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Urbanized living at birth and environmental factors are associated with an increased risk for infections in early childhood, according to two studies presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress 2023, held from Sept. 9 to 13 in Milan.
Nicklas Brustad, M.D., Ph.D., from Gentofte Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues examined whether an urbanized environment at birth was associated with the risk for infection among 663 children from the COPSAC2010 mother-child cohort during the first three years. The researchers found that the risk for infections was increased for children living in urban versus rural areas (17.1 versus 15.2). A different airway immune profile resulted from urbanization, which increased the risk for infections. Different maternal and child metabolomic profiles, which increased the risk for infections, also resulted from urbanization.
Tom Ruffles, from Brighton and Sussex Medical School in the United Kingdom, and colleagues recruited 2,312 pregnant women to examine the association between environmental factors and the risk for respiratory infections and symptoms in young children. Follow-up questionnaires were obtained at 12 and 24 months after birth; data were available for 1,344 children. The researchers observed an association for breastfeeding beyond six months with a reduced risk for bronchiolitis and otitis media. Increased risks for pneumonia and emergency department attendance for wheeze were seen in association with day care. Increased risks for reliever inhaler and inhaled corticosteroid prescription were seen in association with visible damp.
"This research provides some important evidence about how we can help reduce chest infections in babies and toddlers," Ruffles said in a statement.