Many people have questioned the risk of bringing their children to a doctor’s office or daycare that may be full of sick kids and germs. The air could be filled with contaminants and the toys are not sanitized after each child plays. Are those germs harmful to our children or do they help build their immune system?
Several studies show that exposing young children to germs and early age infections can lead to better health later in life. These studies claim that babies and children who grow up with multiple pets, siblings, or spend a lot of time in daycare are less likely to have wheezing, certain allergies and asthma. One study even showed evidence that children in day care or preschool at least one year before kindergarten are over 30% less likely to develop Hodgkin’s lymphoma as young adults.
However, these studies have been highly questioned. Do other kid’s germs and common infections strengthen the immune system or can it be the harmless bacteria they are exposed to at daycares and the doctor’s office?
There are moms who don’t let their children play with the toys at the doctor’s office and other moms who let their children put items from the floor into their mouth. Both situations may be extreme, but are not considered child abuse and stem from differing opinions on the effects of being exposed to germs.
This is a time where we are constantly prompted by fear to over protect our children. Every year there seems to be a new vaccine for a common illness that everyone must have, especially children. We have seen the rise in flu shots and chicken pox vaccines when these illnesses were once considered just a part of life.The sudden push to prevent, what most people have experienced as common and un-fatal, sicknesses tends to strike an alarm for some parents. Others may argue that science and research has developed to show increasing dangers with contracting common illnesses or that new more dangerous strands of these viruses have developed.
It seems there is no definite answer to what amount of germs and common infections, if any, our children should be exposed to. Playing with toys at the doctor’s office and mingling with several children everyday appears to be fairly harmless. The most important thing a parent can do to protect their child is to use common sense about which doctor’s office or which daycare you allow your child to attend and try to be smart about your reactions to the latest study findings.