It is a misconception that strokes are associated Only with older people with poor heart health. There have been many recent studies that indicate a significant increase in the number of strokes experienced by children in the United States.
One such study conducted by the researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, Benioff Children's Hospital and the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research has inferred that children who experience minor infections such as the flu or common colds have an increased risk of suffering a stroke.
Dr. Heather Fullerton, Pediatric Vascular Neurologist and Medical Director of the Pediatric Brain Center at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco, in a statement said, "These findings suggest that infection has a powerful but short-lived effect on stroke risk. We've seen this increase in stroke risk from infection in adults, but until now, an association has not been studied in children."
For the study, Fullertom and her team looked at a database of 2.5 million children, wherein cases of 102 children who suffered from an ischemic stroke, (caused by an obstruction in the blood vessels that supply the brain with blood) were compared to 306 children who had not suffered a stroke.
In 80 percent of the cases, the children suffered from respiratory infections, but not severe infections such as meningitis. The findings suggest that the children who had strokes were 12 times more likely to have had an infection within the previous three days than children who did not.
Fullerton added. "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. It's important the public does the things we can to prevent infection, like vaccinations, good hand washing and covering your mouth when you sneeze in order to protect all children, but it's especially important to help prevent stroke in someone who is otherwise predisposed."