Among four year-olds attending Head Start programs in New York City, those who had older siblings were more likely to experience respiratory symptoms including an episode of wheezing in the past year than those who were oldest or only children.
Children with at least two older siblings were also 50% more likely than other children to have gone to an emergency department or been hospitalized overnight for breathing problems.
These findings from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health were recently pre-published online in the journal Clinical and Experimental Allergy.
One possible explanation for the association is that children with older siblings have more exposure to respiratory infections at an early age than oldest or only children. Respiratory infections are a common cause of wheezing in very young children.
This study shows that children with older siblings may be appropriate targets for interventions to reduce the risk of infections that may lead to hospitalization.
Source: Medical News Today