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Daycare protects against pediatric asthma

Daycare protects against pediatric asthma

Posted: Tuesday, September 9, 2008 8:47 pm

MILWAUKEE – Children who are enrolled in a daycare center as infants are less likely than their peers to develop asthma symptoms by age 5, according to new research published today in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. The British study, led by Nicolaos C. Nicolaou, MD, found that all children enrolled in daycare were 35 percent less likely to develop asthma symptoms, but the greatest protective effect was observed among those enrolled between age 6 months and 12 months – with a 75 percent reduction in risk. The findings add evidence in support of the hygiene hypothesis, which proposes that decreased exposure to infections and germs early in life is responsible for recent drastic increases in asthma and allergies, especially in the developed world. Exposing young children to the pathogens in a daycare environment may help boost immune defenses against allergic diseases. The study followed more than 900 children from birth through age 5. Among other variables, researchers compared the children’s historic childcare arrangements to rates of current wheeze at age 5 – considered a symptom of, or precursor to, asthma. The study also examined the children’s number of siblings and position in sibship, but found no correlation with asthma risk. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), asthma is the most common chronic disease among children, affecting as many as 9 million in the United States. The condition is responsible for an estimated 15 million missed school days each year. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology is the official scientific journal of the AAAAI. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) represents allergists, asthma specialists, clinical immunologists, allied health professionals and others with a special interest in the research and treatment of allergic disease. Established in 1943, the AAAAI has nearly 6,500 members in the United States, Canada and 60 other countries. Visit www.aaaai.org for additional information on pediatric asthma, including patient education materials. Posted 9.9.08

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