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The abundance of early childhood infections, such as episodes of rhino-pharyngitis, does not harm ... On the contrary, it reduces allergies, especially asthma. The point with our specialist, pulmonologist.
- It is by noting the increase in allergies that doctors have been able to establish that it was due to the decline of small infectious diseases of our children. Which means that if we were less moved to see his nose run ... today, the number of cases of allergic diseases continues to increase, mainly with respect to respiratory allergies: sinusitis, tracheitis, but also and especially asthma.
The pollution factor? At most an aggravating factor of allergy!
- After studying the place of heredity, "accused" mites, air pollution, stress, researchers and allergists now consider that these factors, even associated, are not enough to explain this progression of allergies. According to them, they would only play the role of aggravating phenomena, but the direct cause is elsewhere.
- It all started in 1989, when Erika von Mutius clinically compared two groups of children, one in Munich, former West Germany, the other in Leipzig in the former GDR, choosing children very close genetically, so to avoid the interference of the hereditary factor. The findings of his study are surprising to the medical community. Indeed, they show three to four times more respiratory allergies in Munich than in Leipzig where, nevertheless, the pollution rate is very high and the level of sanitary quality less than in former West Germany. To summarize the situation: the children of Leipzig, more exposed to stale air and to infections, are indeed more subject to harassment of the early childhood ... but much less to their possible big complications.
- A year later, a second study, this time statistical, and therefore on a large scale, showed just as clearly that asthma is more common in the west than in the east of Germany.
The crèche friends ... real friends united against the allergy
- This finding could "only challenge" researchers and push them to better understand the components. Adjoining element in the seemingly less blue landscape of the small children of the former GDR: the work of their mother economically integrated into their lifestyle. With its counterpart: the crib and its corollaries: promiscuity and contagion. A track to investigate ...
- The researchers found that in large families, it is more often seniors who are affected by asthma or allergy than cadets, while the latter are the most affected by infections. Another observation: the more a "unique" child returns to the community later, the more his risks of being allergic later increase.
- That's what we had to demonstrate ... and endorse. This was done in a study published in the "New England Journal of Medicine", which indicated that while sibling size and nursery attendance actually exposed to recurrent ENT and respiratory infections, these factors could also be beneficial since they seemed to avoid the development of allergies and asthma in children.
Why the absence of small misfortunes is the great misfortune of allergies? ...
- To explain this parallel between recrudescence of allergies and reduction of infections during early childhood, allergists have been interested in ... our immune system. Especially lymphocytes, these cells play a vital role in our defenses against infectious agents, but also involved in allergic reactions.
- In the newborn, lymphocytes that have never been in contact with "microbes" are called "naive" or TH0 (zero). They are then divided into two types: some, faced with allergens, turn into "bad" TH2, likely to cause an allergy; the others, in the face of infectious agents, become "nice" TH1 that will not only help the body to defend itself, but also produce proteins, the cytokines, capable of preventing the proliferation of TH2, thus limiting the risks of 'allergy.
Antibiotics, the real enemies of allergies!
- Let's stop lamenting about their runny noses, since these infectious diseases protect our babies from allergies. Let's stop even "treating" them too systematically.
- In Western countries, where the concern for hygiene is greater, where toddlers are - thankfully - vaccinated, where they are given antibiotics at the slightest outbreak of fever, children do much less infections Benign bacterial. The result is worse than the badly treated. Their immune system is no longer busy fighting against these "normal" infections, it invests in fighting against "small" enemies, such as pollens or mites ... This probably explains that allergic manifestations, including asthma, have been steadily increasing for several years.
- While there is no question of questioning the benefits of vaccination, we must instead return to fairer behavior vis-à-vis drugs, especially antibiotics. At the Rencontres parisiennes d'allergologie, many specialists had pointed out that children who had taken too many antibiotics during their first two years were more prone to allergies than others.
- Protecting our babies is good, but "hatching" under antibiotics, at the slightest outbreak of fever ... it's too much. Let's rather "work" their immune system in a good way!
Laurence Dibarrat, with the collaboration of Professor Michel Aubier, pulmonologist