Study shows colds, flu can create short-lived increased stroke risk in vulnerable children.
A new study suggests that colds and other minor infections may temporarily increase stroke risk in children. The study found that the risk of stroke was increased only within a three-day period between a child’s visit to the doctor for signs of infection and having the stroke.
The study was led by researchers at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco in collaboration with the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research.
“These findings suggest that infection has a powerful but short-lived effect on stroke risk,” said senior author Heather Fullerton, M.D., a pediatric vascular neurologist and medical director of the Pediatric Brain Center at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco.
“We’ve seen this increase in stroke risk from infection in adults, but until now, an association has not been studied in children.”
Strokes are extremely rare in children, affecting just 5 out of 100,000 kids per year. “The infections are acting as a trigger in children who are likely predisposed to stroke,” said Fullerton. “Infection prevention is key for kids who are at risk for stroke, and we should make sure those kids are getting vaccinated against whatever infections – such as flu – that they can.”
The study appears in today’s (Aug. 20) online issue of Neurology.