I don’t have time to be ill! Why you get sick when your children do.

You know how there are some things in life that seem inevitable? Like how there will always be traffic on the one morning you’re running late?  How the children will magically not be full anymore when the ice cream comes out, and it will only rain on the day you decided not to wear a coat? Or how your children will always get sick at the worst moments. It’s a fact of life and if you think about it, it’s not really surprising either. Children are exposed to more sources of germs than most adults are. They visit more places, touch more things, share equipment and food with other children (and animals sometimes) and put all of those things in their mouths if they can.

That makes bugs and sickness a part of life for you as a parent, but have you ever noticed that when your children are ill, you often end up ill too? Whether it’s something as simple as a cold or a nasty stomach bug, odds are one or both parents will catch it too. Have you ever wondered why that is, or how you could try to avoid it next time?

We Don’t Have Flawless Immune Systems

You would think that as we have all gone through the usual childhood illnesses ourselves, we would now be immune to most of them. After all, our immune systems are pretty good at their jobs, and they can develop immune protection to a lot of things. For example, if you have chickenpox as a child, you’re not going to get it as an adult because you’ve developed immunity to it. But we don’t have flawless immune systems, as children tend to pick up bugs that their parents haven’t got immunity from. Things like respiratory tract infections and even the flu are mutating all the time, so the bugs the little ones bring home is something our immune system hasn’t seen before, so it’s caught off guard. There is some good news though. If you’ve had a similar virus or bacteria before, then your immune system will protect you in some way. It doesn’t mean you won’t ever get sick, but it does mean that it won’t last as long or be as intense.

Parents Actually Have Weaker Immune Systems

Not only are children walking talking germ factories who bring every bug they pick up back home with them, but as a parent, you’re less able to fight those germs. From the time your child is born parents are often exhausted in one way or another. Tiredness has a pretty big impact on the immune system. That’s why there’s an old wives tale about getting sick if you don’t get enough sleep and it is essentially true. A lot of studies show that our T-cells go down and our inflammatory cytokines go up when we’re sleep deprived, which weakens our immune system. So, when you’re not getting enough sleep, your immune system gets worse. As the parent of a baby or toddler, your immune system will be much lower than your friends who have older children, or none at all.

Parents Spend More Time Around Germs

Then you have the fact that parents spend a lot more time around germs than non-parents do. Between the time spent with their child (and all the germs and bugs they pick up), and all the germs they come into contact with (cleaning up vomit, changing nappies and cleaning toys), they are in closer proximity to germs than almost anyone else – except their children. All of this closeness makes it far more likely that they will eventually pick up whatever bug came home with their child from nursery.

So, how do you stop yourself getting sick when your child is? Well, to a certain extent, you can’t, but you can take some preventative measures. For example, you can make sure your children are vaccinated to keep the preventable illnesses at bay. At home, you can try to keep things clean (Dettol will become your new best friend). This includes your hands and your child’s hands – particularly after you’ve changed a nappy. Even if you haven’t directly touched anything nasty, always make sure you wash your hands and theirs. Beyond that, all you can do is keep the remedies on hand for when the inevitable illnesses come knocking.

Of course if and when you or your children are ill then the Medi-Redi medicine storage timer will be invaluable. This unique gadget not only gives you a safe, portable place to store your medicines, but it helps you track which medicine(s) you have given and when, so you never have to worry about missing a dose, or giving a double dose of medicine.. There is also an alarm and a clear indicator light that blinks green when it’s safe to give another dose. Treating illnesses for you and your children has never been easier!

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