As a parent, you must have noticed how your children tended to get sick more frequently when they were younger. On the other hand, children seemed to be less susceptible to COVID-19 when the pandemic first started. What is the explanation for this?
Children and illnesses
It is normal for young children like toddlers and pre-schoolers to get sick up to 8-12 times a year. As a comparison, school children may get sick 5-6 times a year, while teens and adults 2-3 times a year. Young children are more vulnerable to infections because their immune system is still immature and developing, particularly their adaptive immune system.
When children start attending day-care or preschool, they are exposed to new germs. Plus, it is easier to spread infections at these places because young children are sitting in close proximity to one another and they are not yet familiar with the proper cough/sneeze etiquette. Their habits of touching their face and putting fingers in the mouth are other contributing factors. Additionally, babies also tend to get infected when their older siblings bring germs from school to home.
However, a more responsive innate immune system in children may be a reason why children are less susceptible to COVID-19. The innate immune system of children is better and quicker at responding to new threats like COVID-19 before the virus attacks other parts of the body. Meanwhile, adults have a largely adaptive immune system and a less responsive innate immune system, so their body may take more time to fight the virus.
Keeping your little one healthy
If your child is starting or returning to school this year, you may be worried about his/her health and immunity against germs and diseases out there. There is no easy formula to boost your child’s immunity, but here are some key pointers:
It is normal for young children to get sick frequently as their immune system is still developing. However, if you have concerns or suspect any underlying health problem, seek your child’s doctor for advice. And take these steps to help boost your child’s immunity and maintain their health.