Wow, there are so many topics to choose from when writing about kids and health! I have a lot of issues I want to explore, but I’m going to start with a couple of articles about kids and getting sick.
Getting sick is healthy!
First up, a study called Short- and Long-term Risk of Infections as a Function of Group Child Care Attendance published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine found that, as we all know, children start getting more infections when they start spending lots of time around other kids! And, when children start group child care before age 2 and a half, they get more infections at that time, but less infections during elementary school years. Again this makes total sense!
Kids are programmed to expose themselves to all kinds of pathogens from a very early age and this is an important part of their “immune education” which is done during those crucial childhood years before puberty and must last a lifetime. So getting sick is not a bad thing at all, as long as parents know how to manage it in a health-promoting way being careful to avoid suppression. A naturopathic doctor is a great resource to learn how to manage common childhood infections.
Antibiotics and risk of asthma and allergy
The second study I want to share is called Antibiotic Exposure by 6 Months and Asthma and Allergy at 6 Years: Findings in a Cohort of 1,401 US Children published in the American Journal of Epidemiology and adds further information to the association between antibiotic use in infancy and the development of childhood asthma.
This article called Early Antibiotic Use Can Lead to Increased Risk of Childhood Asthma does a great job of summarizing the findings and explaining the mechanism behind this effect, which may be that antibiotics have a major impact on the beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract, which are an important factor in immune response. When these bacteria are disrupted, the type of immune response mounted is altered, resulting in pathologies such as asthma. Something the article does not mention that is a great tool in preventing, mitigating, and treating this type of issue longer term is the use of probiotics. There is already loads of evidence that probiotics are helpful in both the prevention and treatment of asthma and many other childhood illnesses. Perhaps I will explore the topic in more detail in a future blog…
Guard your immune system
The importance of building a healthy immune system and ensuring appropriate and effective immune response cannot be emphasized enough. Based on the evidence that exists and continues to emerge, we are only just beginning to understand how our choices and medical treatments impact our immune systems in both the long and short term. This idea has implications far beyond asthma; it also ties into allergic, autoimmune diseases, and many other issues.