Kids get sick at some point, but daycare kids may have a small immune system advantage
Throwing up is pretty much my least favorite thing on earth. I’d rather be audited, or rub sunscreen onto my hairy legs. Unfortunately, I had kids, which means vomiting is part of my life. Especially since my kids attend daycare, where the germs flow like wine.
Thankfully, the Dutch have found a slight upside to the germ-ridden dungeons of daycare! Those cesspools of filthy, disgusting children, with their shelves full of sticky, bacteria-laden toys and books, actually might have temporary health benefits!
According to a new Dutch study that surveyed 2200 children over the first six years of their lives found that kids who go to daycare are more likely to be exposed to stomach bugs within the first two years of their lives. To which you may want to say, “No shit, Sherlock!” But did you know that those early stomach bugs might actually strengthen their immune systems down the line?
Every parent knows that little kids are walking petri dishes. Whether they go to daycare, preschool, camp, the playground, or a playdate, odds are they’re gonna bring something home that turns your entire house into a hospital ward. It’s just a part of raising kids. But at least now, if the Dutch are right, there’s a silver lining to all the tissues.
Your kids are gonna get sick eventually. It’s just a fact. Children are disgusting, there’s no way around it. But at least now we can maybe stop worrying so much, since an early case or two of the stomach flu could actually harden their intestines against future illnesses. Early illnesses help build up immunity against viruses and bacteria so there will be a few less sick days when they’re older. According to the study, that added boost for daycare kids versus stay-at-home kids fades by age six, but hey, a few extra years of less stomach flu is still something to celebrate.
The study also mentions some non-health related benefits of daycare, like its positive impact on future academic performance and behavior. Which is all well and good, but it’s little consolation when your baby comes home covered in puke and the next thing you know your entire family is reenacting the barf-o-rama scene in Stand By Me.
Just stock up on hand sanitizer and take some solace in the fact that while your kids may be sick now, the daycare cesspool may prevent them from being sick later.