YOUNG Irish children who develop respiratory tract infections may have an increased risk of developing asthma as they get older.
Some 155,000 children from a number of European countries, including Ireland, who were born between 1989 and 2013 were studied. They may also have poorer overall lung function later in life. Their history of respiratory tract infections was analysed between the ages of six months and five years.
The children were then followed up until they were between the ages of four years and 15 years, according to researchers at Erasmus MC University Medical Centre in the Netherlands.
By the age of five years children who suffered with upper respiratory infections, such as colds, laryngitis, sinusitis and tonsillitis, had a 1.5fold increased risk of developing asthma as they got older.
They found children who had suffered from lower respiratory tract infections, such as general chest infections, bronchitis and pneumonia, had a two-to-four-fold increased risk of developing asthma when older.
The researchers said: “Further studies that measure lung function and wheezing from birth onwards are needed to explore whether the infections cause asthma and lower lung function, or whether wheezing and lower lung function may be predisposing these children to develop the infections.”