Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Asthma Health Center

Font Size

Day Care Doesn't Protect Against Asthma

Findings Challenge 'Hygiene Hypothesis'

Day Care: No Lasting Impact on Asthma continued...

By the age of 8, there was no difference in asthma-related symptoms like wheezing in children who had early day care and those who did not.

No difference in wheeze was seen with regard to day care attendance among boys and girls, but having older brothers or sisters did impact risk.

Children with older siblings who started day care early had more than a fourfold higher risk of frequent respiratory infections and a more than twofold risk of wheezing in the first year of life compared to children without older siblings who did not attend day care.

But even in these high-exposure children, no difference in asthma-related symptoms was reported by age 8.

7 Million Kids U.S. Kids Have Asthma

Supporters of the hygiene hypothesis say it could help explain the dramatic increase in allergy and asthma in industrialized countries during a time when exposure to germs has declined.

Asthma is now the most common chronic disease of childhood, affecting close to 7 million children in the U.S., according to the American Lung Association.

Many studies examining the hygiene hypothesis have focused on day care attendance because children who go to day care tend to be exposed to more germs and infections.

Findings have been mixed, with some studies suggesting a protective role for day care attendance and others failing to show a benefit.

The new research is one of the largest studies ever to address the question, with some of the longest follow up.

But asthma specialist John Mastronarde, MD, tells WebMD that an even longer follow up would be needed to conclusively show that early day care attendance has no lasting impact on asthma risk.

Mastronarde directs the asthma center at Ohio State University Medical Center.

“This study adds another interesting piece to the puzzle, but I don’t see it as definitive,” he says.

He says it is increasingly clear that rather than being a specific disease with one specific cause, asthma is a heterogeneous disorder with many different triggers.

Asthma researcher Clare Ramsey, MD, agrees the new study is not definitive.

When Is Your Asthma Worse?

When Is Your Asthma Worse?

Take the WebMD Asthma assessment to get Personalized Action Plan

Start Now

Today on WebMD

Lung and bronchial tube graphic
5 common triggers.
group jogging in park
Should you avoid fitness activities?
asthma inhaler
Learn about your options.
man feeling faint
What’s the difference?
Madison Wisconsin Capitol
woman wearing cpap mask
red wine pouring into glass
Woman holding inhaler
Man outdoors coughing
Lung and bronchial tube graphic
10 Worst Asthma Cities