What causes continuing respiratory illnesses in infants?
Viral infections are a major cause of respiratory illness in young children. Viral infections can damage the airway and reduce lung function, causing asthma in some cases. Recent advances in medical care enable viruses to be detected up to 95% of infants who show respiratory symptoms. The human rhinovirus accounts for half of all illnesses in the upper airways in children with recurring respiratory symptoms. American researchers studied infants with a family history of asthma or allergy to try and discover the causes of severe respiratory illnesses. Parents were asked to inform the study centre each time their child suffered a respiratory illness so that researchers could take samples from inside the child’s nose. Illnesses were given a score to indicate whether they were mild, moderate or severe and scores were decided according to symptoms. Symptoms of moderate to severe respiratory illnesses usually included coughing, wheezing and finding it difficult to breathe. Data taken from the