Croup is an inflammation of the trachea and larynx, a form of “laryngo-tracheobronchitis”, caused by a contagious viral infection and in most cases by the parainfluenza virus, which causes an infection of the respiratory tract in infants. and for small children. The frequency of the cross increases with the emergence and circulation of the Omicron variant. The main symptoms of the cross are “creaking” when breathing, coughing and difficulty breathing.
Thus, this form of acute laryngitis is the most common cause of respiratory discomfort in young children aged 1-3 years. This year, the usual autumn peak coincides with the circulation of the Omicron variant. Finally, in the most severe cases, croup may require hospitalization and respiratory support.
Lead author Dr. Nicklas Brustad, a physician at Copenhagen University Hospital and co-author of the COPSAC (Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood) study, points out that “there is currently no vaccine against the pathogen that causes the disease. Therefore, other preventive strategies are needed, and measures initiated during pregnancy may be important as infants and young children develop croup.
Prevent during pregnancy
Clinical study reveals a thorough method of prevention through the mother and from pregnancy, so in a very long-term perspective: from 2010. The 736 pregnant women participating in the COPSAC cohort were divided into 4 groups:
- Group 1 received a high-dose vitamin D supplement (2,800 IU/day) and fish oil containing long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (2.4 grams);
- the second group received a high dose of vitamin D and olive oil;
- the third group – standard dose of vitamin D (400 IU/day) and fish oil;
- the last group is a standard dose of vitamin D and olive oil.
All women took the supplements from the 24th week of pregnancy until the week after the birth of the baby. Researchers followed children up to age 3 and 97 children were diagnosed with croup. The analysis reveals that:
- children whose mothers consumed fish oil have an 11% risk of cross-disease, compared to 17% of children whose mothers consumed olive oil: this represents a 38% reduction in the risk of cross-disease;
- children whose mothers took high doses of vitamin D have an 11% risk of croup, compared with 18% of those whose mothers took standard doses of vitamin D: this means a 40% reduction in the risk of croup;
- Babies and children under 3 are much less likely to develop croup if their mothers took fish oil and vitamin D supplements during pregnancy.
“Therefore, these 2 supplements may be beneficial for children with epilepsy at high enough doses. They are relatively inexpensive supplements that offer an accessible and cost-effective approach to improving the health of young children.
What mechanisms? The authors suggest that these two compounds may stimulate the immune system to fight infections more effectively. Moreover, this anti-rejection effect is in addition to other benefits already shown by the same team, including beneficial effects on bone development, the central nervous system, body composition and asthma.
“We know that the lung health of babies and young children can be affected during pregnancy. For example, babies whose mothers smoke have worse lung health. Increasingly, we are finding that the mother’s diet can also help or hinder the development of the baby’s lungs.”