Do kids really need to get sick? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 10-01-2007, 09:38 PM - Thread Starter
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I know you are not doctors and I will ask my doctor this question too but I am interested in your thoughts...

So many of my former colleagues' kids were always sick. They said if they are not sick as preschoolers, they will be sick all the time when they start elementary school.

Is this really true? Do children need to get sick in the first few years? In addition to extended BFing, what else can I do to keep babe from getting sick? Should I keep my 8 month old away from other kids during cold/flu season or is the socialization more important at this age?

Thank you!
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#2 of 9 Old 10-01-2007, 09:43 PM
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I dont think kids NEED to get sick. Dh was never a sick kid and isnt a sick adult. He will share cups with me when i have strep and he never gets anything.

I think kids do need to be exposed to some things normally. Like hypersanitizing the house is bad because they never get to let their bodies fight off normal germs. We dont use antibacterial soaps, dd plays in the dirt etc.

DD has an amazing immune system and i swear it is a combo of her genes (daddy), BF, nonvaxing, and the fact that she LICKS everything! She gets to taste allllll the germs.
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#3 of 9 Old 10-01-2007, 09:56 PM
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#4 of 9 Old 10-01-2007, 10:01 PM
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For the most part, I think that's a bunch of hooey parents say to make themselves feel better about putting their kids into daycare or preschool or whatever situation made them sick all the time.

Yes, being exposed to germs is usually a good thing and helps a healthy immune system grow stronger. But you don't have to get sick in order to get the immunity benefits, from what I understand.

My father was never sick as a kid, his mother used to say, and never gets sick as an adult. He says he thinks he's had the common cold about 6 times in life. Obviously, that's just one man, simple anecdotal evidence.
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#5 of 9 Old 10-01-2007, 10:09 PM
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I don't think they *need to* get sick, but a lot of kids do get sick, and are just fine. A child getting a fever or coughing isn't anything to panic about.

At 8mo, I would neither avoid all people for fear of germs, nor intentionally expose them for the socialization. You're not going to damage your child emotionally if she isn't "socialized" at this young age, nor will her body be damaged by being exposed to germs, whether she gets sick from them or not.

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#6 of 9 Old 10-02-2007, 02:24 AM
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Need to be exposed to germs and illness naturally? Yes. Could some of these cause them to become ill with a cold, etc? Yes, but kids should not be sick continually. I think the healthy average is 3-4 times a year with a cold (varying degrees of severity).

Like a PP said, a lot of the "my kid is sick all the time, it's good for them" is to make parents feel okay about daycare/all day preschool. To me, that's not natural, not a natural way to get a cold.

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#7 of 9 Old 10-02-2007, 03:53 AM
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No, it's not true and I can't for the life of me find the articles to back that up.

Essentially, they need to be *exposed* to stuff, but not necessarily get sick from it (like our BF kids get the bug in their system but never get any symptoms).

But there's also an age thing, something like illnesses the first two years doesn't effect later illnesses, but illnesses after that do. I'm not remembering the details at all, but it was, say, for example, pulling numbers out of my arse, kids with five colds a year from birth to age 3 had no fewer colds at age six than kids with one cold a year for 0-3, but kids with five colds a year at age 4-5 had fewer colds at age six than kids with one cold a year. Something like that.
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#8 of 9 Old 10-02-2007, 12:22 PM
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I asked our naturopath this very question because EVERYONE says that, esp. in regards to kids going to daycare (ie, oh, they get so sick but they need to to build their immune systems, etc.).

The naturopath said, "think of it: how do you build a strong immune system by being sick? You build a strong immune system by staying healthy. "

I believe her!

I think that people say that because it's true that exposure to common germs and bacteria is healthy, as a pp mentionned. And yes it's true that if you get exposed to chickenpox, you'll get it and then be immune to it (providing you aren't innoculated). But that's about gaining immunity to a specific virus. As for colds and flus and whatnot, regular exposure to these does absolutely nothing to decrease your chances of getting them again.

So, ultimately, I think it's hogwash!
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#9 of 9 Old 10-02-2007, 12:46 PM
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I agree with the others, you need to be exposed to germs then your body starts to build up immunity to those germs so you DON'T get sick. If your immune system is low & the body doesn't have the resources to fight off the germs you are exposed to you may get sick.

I have never ever avoided taking my kids(at any age) to places just becuase they may be exposed to an illness. Rarely did my kids get sick from being around another sick person.
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