Young children suffer between 10 and 12 infections in the first year of kindergarten , so it is not uncommon for parents to come to our office wishing we would prescribe the remedy to “boost their defenses.” And now, in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic , many wonder if they could not, in some way, improve the defenses of their children to be prevented.
But what are defenses really? Is there an effective treatment that can increase them? Would that help us in the case of being infected by a specific virus?
Our immune system is in charge of defending ourselves against infections. It is a very broad system, which includes cells, tissues and organs. 11 names of heroines from Greek mythology for your baby.
Within the wide variety of cells we have first-line “basic” cells that act against any type of infection. And there are other more “elaborated” cells, called lymphocytes, that act specifically against a specific organism by making antibodies. These anti-overlaps remain in our system, so if it encounters the same organism again, it will be eliminated more quickly.
Fortunately, most children have normally functioning defenses . It is common that during the first year (or first years) of nursery school they have several episodes of fever and mucus that does not seem to heal.
On the one hand, they are in constant contact with different viruses and bacteria since children share everything at those ages. On the other, they are “bugs” that your immune system has not seen before and is building defenses.
Most of these infections are viral, mild and resolve in a few days (colds, gastroenteritis, conjunctivitis …). The children continue to grow normally and are in good general condition. 15 beautiful and practical organizers for bath toys.
If a child presents, on the other hand, serious infections that require admission, frequent treatment with antibiotics and other symptoms (weight loss, decay …) we may find ourselves facing a (rare) disease in which the defenses do not function normally.
Yes! There are two ways that have been scientifically shown to decrease infections
From a scientific point of view, no; there is no evidence that the remedies below work. However, some parents report that their children get sick less since they take it and it may be due to the placebo effect : we know they are taking something for that purpose and it seems to us (subjectively) that they become less bad. It also happens sometimes that they start taking it after a few months and even in the second year of nursery school; and of course, children become less bad because they have already been creating defenses against many microorganisms.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when administered in the right amounts, confer a health benefit. Through different mechanisms (activating local macrophages, modulating cytokine profiles …) they can offer immunological benefits .
In the field of pediatrics they have been studied in relation to multiple pathologies, although there is only scientific evidence for a few. Probiotics decrease the duration and severity of viral gastroenteritis (without ever being a substitute for rehydration), and there is also evidence for preventing antibiotic-associated diarrhea .
Regarding respiratory and gastrointestinal infections in children attending daycare centers, although there are some studies that point to a possible benefit of its long-term administration, but more studies are necessary to be able to recommend them.
They could also play a role in atopic dermatitis. The World Allergy Organization suggests the use of probiotics in high-risk populations to decrease the risk of eczema. We must bear in mind that not all probiotics are the same and it is necessary to know which strain is useful in each disease.
In western countries there are an increasing number of children suffering from asthma, allergies and atopic dermatitis. Among the possible explanations for why this happens is the hygiene hypothesis : greater cleaning results in less exposure to viruses, bacteria and parasites, necessary to help the function of the human immune system and to play a protective role against allergies.
Strachan was the first to talk about it in 1989 and multiple posts have appeared since. It has been seen, for example, that children who grow up in rural areas, around animals and in larger families, develop asthma less frequently, and this could be explained by the hygiene hypothesis . However, it is not all about ” cleaning a lot or not”. There are other mechanisms involved and more studies are needed.