The risk of respiratory tract infections and antibiotic use in a general population and among people with asthma
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonEuropean Respiratory Journal Open Research. 2021, 7 (4), 00429-2021. 10.1183/23120541.00429-2021
Aim The aim of this study was to investigate occupational, environmental, early life and other risk factors associated with respiratory infections and antibiotics use in a general population and among asthmatic individuals. Method This study included 15 842 participants of the Respiratory Health in Northern Europe (RHINE) study aged 25–54 years from five Nordic countries, who answered a questionnaire covering respiratory outcomes, exposures, demographic characteristics and numbers of infections and courses of antibiotics in the last 12 months. Multiple logistic regression with and without adjustment for age, sex, smoking status, body mass index and centre were used to study the risk of infection and antibiotics in relation to asthma, and also the association between infection and antibiotics and occupations. Results In the whole population, 11.6% reported having three or more respiratory infections, and 14.7% had used antibiotics because of respiratory tract infections within the last year. Asthmatic participants reported tripled odds for such infections (adjusted OR 2.98, 95% CI 2.53–3.52) and antibiotics use (adjusted OR 3.67, 95% CI 3.18–4.24) as compared to non-asthmatic participants. Both in the general and the asthmatic population, female sex, obesity and exposure to building dampness were associated with respiratory infections. Female sex and current smoking and living in Tartu were associated with antibiotic use. The use of antibiotics was doubled in people hospitalised for severe respiratory infection in childhood. Conclusion In this study we identified several factors associated with increased respiratory infections and use of antibiotics in a general population and among asthmatic individuals. The frequency of respiratory infections and subsequent antibiotic treatment were increased among those with asthma.