The examination of bacteria and viruses in the children's nose could provide clues to improve the diagnosis and treatment of severe lung infections, a new study found.
Pulmonary infections are a major cause of death in children under the age of five.
The study found that the makeup of bacteria and viruses was altered in the nose of children with respiratory infections.
The researchers say the study helps explain why some children are more prone to develop infections than others.
It could also be the key to preventing serious lung infections.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found that the differences indicated the severity of the condition and could help doctors predict how long the child needs to stay in the hospital.
They said that in less severe cases, it could reduce the need for antibiotics and help some children recover naturally.
The professor. Debby Bogaert, of the Center for Medical Research for Inflammation Research at the University of Edinburgh, which led the study, said: "Lung infections can be extremely severe in children and children and are very painful. for parents.
"Our results show for the first time that the total microbial community in the respiratory tract – rather than a single virus or bacteria – is a vital indicator of respiratory health.
"This could really have an impact on how doctors diagnose lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) and use valuable antibiotics to fight infections."
LRTIs include pneumonia and bronchiolitis.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh worked with groups in the Netherlands to take samples from over 150 children under the age of six at the hospital with LRTI. They then compared these with samples from 300 healthy children.
They found that the microbiome of hospitalized children, the bacteria and viruses found in the back of the nose and throat, were related to those seen in the lungs, which made it easier to understand and diagnose the infection.
The study is published in the journal The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.