Children under six months of age and who have an older sibling are twice more likely to suffer from flu than children who do not have older siblings ,a new research has concluded. Flu can be dangerous in infants as it can trigger lung infection and breathing difficulties. It is also followed by very high fever, which can lead to febrile convulsions. The study inferred that among children under six months, who had one sibling, there were around one extra admission to hospital in every 1,000 children as compared to children who don’t have a sibling. For those with two older siblings, there were two extra hospital admissions for every 1,000 children, the researchers said, in the paper published in the European Respiratory Journal.
"Children are very effective spreaders of respiratory viruses like flu. Our study suggests that older siblings pose a risk of serious infection for their baby sisters and brothers," said lead author Pia Hardelid, a lecturer at the University College of London.
Further, the risk was also higher for babies born between July and December, who would be very young at the start of the flu season.
"At the moment there is no vaccine approved for babies under six months. This means we need to look at other ways to minimise the risk of infection," Hardelid said
Thus, if parents get older siblings -- aged two years and older -- vaccinated, it can help bring down serious infections in the babies and young children that are under two, the researchers suggested. Previous studies have indicated that maternal vaccination during pregnancy can help protect the newborn from flu infection. The research studied children born in Scotland between October 2007 and April 2015. There were around 400,000 children involved in the study.
(With IANS Inputs)