Children may face a risk of stroke, following illnesses.
Many new research studies have indicated that common infections, including colds and chickenpox, may increase the risk of strokes in children.
Although this is concerning news for parents, the good news is that strokes in children are quite rare. In addition, one study indicated that childhood vaccines seem to offer some protection against childhood strokes.
Dr. Heather Fullerton, one of the study’s authors and the lead director of a pediatric stroke center at the University of California, notes that children who suffered a stroke were more likely to have had a recent infection than children who did not have a stroke. She added that there appeared to be a particularly strong link of an infection happening around a week before the stroke happened in the child. In these instances, there was around a 7 percent increase in the risk of a stroke.
This news may be worrisome, but it remains true that these infections are very common and strokes are quite rare in children. The studies indicated that the infections may be a trigger in children who are already susceptible to strokes.
Fullerton and her team will soon be presenting their research and findings at an American Stroke Association meeting. The studies that Fullerton were involved in were smaller components of a larger research study involving vascular actions of infections in children.
To complete their study, the researchers followed close to 312 children who had previously suffered a stroke. The average age of the children in the study was 7. One study found that children who had an infection of less than 7 days before suffering a stroke were linked to a 7 percent higher chance of having a stroke. The study also found that upper respiratory infections were the most common types of infections preceding a stroke.
The study also found that children who had just a few or none of the recommended childhood vaccines also had a 7 percent higher risk of a stroke. Children who had received a measles-mumps-rubella, pneumococcus or polio vaccine appeared to have more protection against a stroke.