Childhood respiratory infections increases adults' mortality risk: Study

U.K. researchers found adults who had a lower respiratory tract infection before age 2 are at higher risk of dying prematurely from respiratory disease.

The study, published in The Lancet, followed 3,589 people across England and Wales who were born in 1946. Their medical or death records were reviewed up to 2019. 

Researchers found people who had a lower respiratory tract infection, such as bronchitis or pneumonia, during early childhood were 93 percent more likely to die of respiratory tract infection by age 73 compared to those who did not. The association was independent of socioeconomic factors and smoking status.

One expert said the study sheds light on the lifetime effects of some infections.

"Our kids get vaccinated for pneumococcal pneumonia. They get vaccinated for pertussis," Christian Sandrock, MD, a physician in pulmonology at the University of California Davis Medical Center who was not involved in the study, told CNN. "So I don't think this study translates into what happens for kids nowadays, but I think it really relays the importance of childhood lower respiratory tract infections, including in older adults that we manage now."

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