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Day Care May Not Shield Kids From Asthma, Allergies
Date:9/9/2009

States? "The study population was a reasonable reflection of the Dutch general population, including rural and urban areas, so white children with a western European lifestyle," de Jongste wrote in an e-mail interview. "This should not be very different from U.S. children who live under comparable conditions."

The bottom line? Early exposure to germs and other organisms does cause more symptoms early in a child's life, but without a counterbalancing health benefit later on, as was previously believed. The children had an increase in airway symptoms until age 4, an overall decrease from age 4 to 8, but no protection at age 8 compared to those who weren't in daycare.

The study is published in the Sept. 15 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

The study is considered a "landmark investigation" by Dr. John Heffner, past president of the American Thoracic Society. In a prepared statement, Heffner said that the investigation "is the first to follow children prospectively from birth to 8 years and assess the effect of daycare enrollment on both asthma symptoms and immunologic evidence of allergic disease."

Heffner added: "This study provides strong evidence that enrollment in daycare provides no protection against asthma and cannot be promoted as a public health strategy to decrease asthma prevalence."

De Jongste said parents should consider daycare for many other reasons, however. "Daycare may serve many purposes, including social contacts and enabling both parents to work," he said.

More information

To learn more about childhood asthma, visit the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.



SOURCES: Johan C. de Jongste, M.D., Ph.D., professor, pediatric respiratory medicine, Erasmus University Medical Center-Sophia Ch
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