AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 27, Number 2, 2018


Colds, Flu May Temporarily Increase Stroke Risk in Kids

Although stroke is very rare in children, new research published in the journal Neurology found that the flu, the common cold and other minor infections may temporarily increase stroke risk in children. In addition, the study also found that routine childhood vaccinations may decrease the risk of stroke. “Parents should be reassured that while the risk was increased, the overall risk of stroke among children is still extremely low,” said the study’s lead researcher. “It is possible that changes in the body as a result of these infections, such as inflammation and dehydration could tip the balance in a child who is already at a higher risk for stroke. Parents should not be alarmed if their child has a cold that it will lead to a stroke.” During the study, researchers reviewed the medical charts and conducted parent interviews of 355 children under the age of 18 who were diagnosed with a stroke, and 354 who were stroke-free. The results of the study showed that the risk of stroke was increased only for infections that occurred in the prior week, indicating that the effect of infection on stroke risk is short-lived — infections that occurred even one- to six-months prior were not associated with an increased risk. Additionally, children who were poorly vaccinated were found to be at a higher risk of stroke than those who had most or all of their routine vaccinations. To read more about this study, click here.

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