Colds frequently passed among toddlers attending day care provide a measure of immunity by the time the children reach school age, offering worried parents some comfort, researchers said on Thursday. Two-year-olds enrolled in day care centers attended by six or more children caught twice as many colds as children of that age cared for at home, according to a study of 1,246 children in Tucson, Arizona.
But between the ages of 6 and 11, those who had attended day care suffered fewer colds than their counterparts cared for at home during their preschool years. By the age of 13, all the children were at the same risk of developing colds.
"Regardless of whether children acquire that immunity in preschool or primary school, they seem to have similar levels of protection by 13 years of age," Thomas Ball of Arizona College of Medicine wrote in the Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine, a journal published by the American Medical Association.
Upper respiratory tract infections account for 75 percent of illnesses suffered by U.S. infants and about half of all illnesses, the report said. The common cold is responsible for about 23 million days of missed school and 25 million missed days of work in the United States.
In 1995, 65 percent of 4-year-olds were enrolled in day care or nursery school.
"Clinicians may continue to reassure parents of children in day care that their child’s plight with minor respiratory tract illnesses is not in vain," Ball wrote.
Dr. Huggins Comments: This study underscores the position that I have held for years in that your immune system goes through a learning curve experience. In years past measles, mumps, chicken pox etc. were always referred to as usual childhood diseases. The intelligence of the body takes those experiences and learns to fight off more serious issues later on in life. It has been suggested that measles is particularly important for women and the health of their reproductive organs. The innate intelligence has a tremendous ability to adapt to a hostile environment as long as there is no interference. So the next time your child has a runny nose or moderate fever understand that the body is "doing its thing" and learning how to face future challenges.