In a really nice study, researchers confirmed what every parent already knows: that your preschooler is a teeming virus-catching wonder.
When studying the nasal secretions of preschoolers (which had to be the easiest study ever, just collect the trash bin at the end of an average day), researchers found a veritable cornucopia of viruses. “Rhinovirus was identified in 28.6% of 315 swab samples, followed by respiratory syncytial virus (12.4%), parainfluenza virus 1 (12.1%), enterovirus (8.9%), influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 (7.9%), human bocavirus 1 (3.8%), parainfluenza virus 2 (3.2%), adenovirus (2.9%), and influenza A(H3N2) (0.6%).” (study here)
In other words, a preschooler’s nose is one-stop-shopping for a CDC list of pandemic viruses. Notice there was not one, but two different influenza viruses present among our mix.
But the key finding was that, while their noses were chock full of viruses, these children weren’t dying. They had symptoms, but their bodies were handling it. And those children who took probiotics had statistically fewer days out sick than those who did not.
The probiotics did not make a bit of difference in how many viruses the children carried. The “probiotic intervention was not effective in reducing the amount of viral findings” while giving children fewer days of illness.
So what’s happening here? It’s the terrain. The children taking the probiotic had less area in their guts available to the virus for growing, so they had fewer days of symptoms.
Should your preschooler be on probiotics? Yes, but it won’t make that much difference. And don’t think that because you’re slathering them with alcohol sanitizer that they’re noses are virus-free. But do feed them, get them enough sleep, and thank your genetics that your child is able to survive an amazing barrage of viruses and still just have a sniffle.