Kids with Lung Disease at Risk in Daycare

BALTIMORE, Sept. 30 (UPI) — Being in daycare increases risks in children with chronic lung disease of prematurity, U.S. researchers say.

This condition — caused by premature birth — occurs in about one-quarter of babies before 26 weeks of gestation but can develop in babies born as late as 32 weeks, researchers at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore say.

They urge pediatricians to monitor prematurely born patients, regardless of age, for signs of lung disease and to make the parents aware daycare increases risk.

The study, published in Pediatrics, finds children with this lung condition attending daycare are nearly four times more likely than others to have serious respiratory symptoms requiring hospital emergency department treatment, twice as likely to need corticosteroids and twice as likely to need antibiotics as children with this condition not attending daycare.

“Daycare can be a breeding ground for viruses and puts these already vulnerable children at risk for prolonged illness and serious complications from infections that are typically mild and short-lived in children with healthy lungs,” study lead investigator Dr. Sharon McGrath-Morrow says in a statement. “Repeated infections in children with lung disease of prematurity can also put them on a fast track to lifelong respiratory problems and chronic lung damage, so prevention in early life is crucial.”

McGrath-Morrow and colleagues interviewed the parents of 111 children ages 3 and under with this condition. Twenty-two of the children attended daycare.

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