New research finds that administration of
probiotics reduces risk of respiratory infections in pre-schoolers; it also has
a significant effect in reducing episodes and duration of diarrhea
Probiotics are live microorganisms (mostly bacteria) which when consumed may
provide health benefits. The current study proved the beneficial effect of a
strain called Lactobacillus reuteri
DSM 17938. Probiotics are widely available over the counter in the form of
capsules or drops; they are also found incorporated into foods like yogurt.
When given daily probiotics for three months,
were found to suffer
fewer respiratory infections and attacks of diarrhea than classmates taking a
placebo, reported Dr. Pedro Gutierrez-Castrellon, who led the study.
Children are more prone to get infections than
adults; they pick up respiratory infections and stomach upsets frequently. Most
of the time they acquire these from daycare centers or schools. Diarrhea
is particularly common and very often tends to be dangerous if untreated.
Though diarrhea is the body's natural mechanism to get rid of germs, it can
lead to dehydration. Most cases of diarrhea last for less than a week.
Important symptoms of
Nausea/ Vomiting • Abdominal
pain • Dehydration
- child may get
fatigued due to fluid loss
Our ammunition mainly consists of fluid corrective
methods especially oral rehydration solution (ORS). Experts advise mothers to
continue giving breast milk, ORS, and safe water in excess amount to infants
and young children.
The common respiratory infections include flu and
cold; many cases are caused by viral
. Bacterial causes are not uncommon in children under the
age of five.
A team of researchers led by Dr.
Gutierrez-Castrellon from National Perinatology Institute in Mexico City,
tested the bacterial strain Lactobacillus
DSM 17938 in four day care centers. A total of 336 children
ages six months to three years were involved in the study; they were followed
up for six months. One half of the group was given eight drops of probiotics
for three months; the other half were given identical drops with no probiotic
effect, i.e. placebo
Significant reduction in the incidence of
infections was found in the group on probiotics. For example during the first
three months alone only 42 episodes of diarrhea that lasted for an average of
1.4 days could be recorded in this group. These values were 69 episodes and 2.5
days for the group on placebo. Respiratory
showed a more evident disparity, 93 cases in the kids on
probiotics and 204 in the placebo group.
Fewer antibiotic drugs were required for the group
on probiotics. Researchers recorded cost savings of $36 per episode of diarrhea
and $37 per case of respiratory tract infection with the use of probiotics.
This is an observation of colossal importance; we now have a cost effective
means to reduce the national economic burden due to diseases in children.
Fewer infections mean fewer medical visits, lesser
requirement of rehydration fluids and drugs, these translate to better national
savings and healthier kids. Probiotics
the field of pediatric preventive medicine.
centers are vulnerable hubs for spread of infections; kids pass everything
around! There are a large number of probiotics in the market; pharmacists must
know which are the best and assist parents in finding the right one.
Diarrhea in Preschool Children and Lactobacillus reuteri
Randomized Controlled Trial- Pediatrics