Browsing by Subject "Common cold"

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  • Peltonen, Henna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Background: Preschoolers suffer frequently from infections. Large group sizes and varying hygiene practices may enhance pathogen transmission within preschool settings. Preschool-attributable infections cause economic consequences for society, which is why identifying the related risk factors is of importance. One such may be diet. Appropriate immune defence requires sufficient intakes of energy, protein, polyunsaturated fat, dietary fibre, and numerous micronutrients, whereas excess sugar and saturated fat may be harmful. However, previous nutritional research examining preschoolers’ infections has mainly focused on probiotics. Little research has been done on the role of whole-diet in preschoolers’ susceptibility to infections. Aim: The present study aimed to investigate the associations of dietary patterns with common colds, gastroenteritis, and antibiotic courses among Finnish preschoolers. Methods: The study sample included 721 children aged 3-6 years attending the cross-sectional DAGIS survey. The parents reported retrospectively how many common colds, gastroenteritis, and antibiotic courses their children had experienced during the past year. Children’s food consumption was recorded using a 47-item food frequency questionnaire filled in by the parents. The parents also reported background factors of their children and family. The following three dietary patterns were identified based on the food consumption frequencies using principal component analysis: 1) sweets-and-treats pattern (high loadings of e.g. biscuits, chocolate, and ice cream); 2) health-conscious pattern (high loadings of e.g. nuts, natural yoghurt, and berries); and 3) vegetables-and-processed meats pattern (high loadings of e.g. vegetables, colds cuts, and fruits). Dietary pattern scores were calculated for each child to describe the strength of adherence to each identified dietary pattern. The distributions of the dietary pattern scores were divided into thirds that were labelled low, moderate, and high adherence groups. Negative binomial regression analysis was used to examine the associations between thirds of the dietary pattern scores and the prevalence of common colds and antibiotic courses. Logistic regression analysis was used to investigate the associations between thirds of the dietary pattern scores and a chance of experiencing at least one gastroenteritis. Results: Prevalence of common colds was lower in moderate and high adherences to the sweets-and-treats pattern compared to low adherence (PR=0.89, 95% CI=0.80-1.00; and PR=0.88, 95% CI=0.79-0.99, respectively) and higher in high adherence to the health-conscious pattern compared to low adherence (PR=1.13, 95% CI=1.01-1.27) after adjusting for age, sex, number of children living in the same household, frequency of preschool attendance, probiotic use, and the highest educational level in the family. Moderate adherence to the sweets-and-treats pattern was associated with a lower chance of at least one gastroenteritis (OR=0.63, 95% CI=0.44-0.92) and lower prevalence of antibiotic courses (PR=0.77, 95% CI= 0.59-1.00) compared to low adherence. No significant associations were observed between the vegetables-and-processed meats pattern and the infectious outcomes. Adjustments for the background factors did not modify the associations. Conclusion: The results were unexpected. The associations observed would suggest that favouring unhealthier foods but avoiding healthier foods was linked to better immunity, which is difficult to accept as true. Parents who were most health-conscious of their children’s diet might also have been more conscious of their children’s illness conditions than less health-conscious parents, which may explain the results. Further research with longitudinal designs is needed to determine whether dietary habits play a role in preschoolers’ susceptibility to infections.
  • Hemila, Harri; Chalker, Elizabeth (2015)
    BACKGROUND: A previous meta-analysis found that high dose zinc acetate lozenges reduced the duration of common colds by 42%, whereas low zinc doses had no effect. Lozenges are dissolved in the pharyngeal region, thus there might be some difference in the effect of zinc lozenges on the duration of respiratory symptoms in the pharyngeal region compared with the nasal region. The objective of this study was to determine whether zinc acetate lozenges have different effects on the duration of common cold symptoms originating from different anatomical regions. METHODS: We analyzed three randomized trials on zinc acetate lozenges for the common cold administering zinc in doses of 80-92 mg/day. All three trials reported the effect of zinc on seven respiratory symptoms, and three systemic symptoms. We pooled the effects of zinc lozenges for each symptom and calculated point estimates and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). RESULTS: Zinc acetate lozenges shortened the duration of nasal discharge by 34% (95% CI: 17% to 51%), nasal congestion by 37% (15% to 58%), sneezing by 22% (-1% to 45%), scratchy throat by 33% (8% to 59%), sore throat by 18% (-10% to 46%), hoarseness by 43% (3% to 83%), and cough by 46% (28% to 64%). Zinc lozenges shortened the duration of muscle ache by 54% (18% to 89%), but there was no difference in the duration of headache and fever. CONCLUSIONS: The effect of zinc acetate lozenges on cold symptoms may be associated with the local availability of zinc from the lozenges, with the levels being highest in the pharyngeal region. However our findings indicate that the effects of zinc ions are not limited to the pharyngeal region. There is no indication that the effect of zinc lozenges on nasal symptoms is less than the effect on the symptoms of the pharyngeal region, which is more exposed to released zinc ions. Given that the adverse effects of zinc in the three trials were minor, zinc acetate lozenges releasing zinc ions at doses of about 80 mg/day may be a useful treatment for the common cold, started within 24 hours, for a time period of less than two weeks.