To think the UK is germ ridden?

(85 Posts)
Doitnicelyplease Wed 23-Oct-13 18:56:05

Genuine question. I have not lived in the UK for more than 10 years and I am surprised at how often I read on here about people/kids in the UK getting sick.

For comparison I have a 5 year old DD in kindergarten, she has never had lice, worms, D&V bug, noro virus, chicken pox etc (touch wood). I also know lots of children this age and none of them have had any of these illnesses either. Usually kids here get colds, ear infections, coughs that type of thing.

There has never been an outbreak (in last 4 years) of any of these illnesses in her school or before that pre-school.

So are there children in the UK have also avoided these germs/bugs/viruses or would that be highly unusual?

I am not a germaphobe by the way and I know kids can't help catching these things, but I was just wondering if the UK has become a bit of a breeding ground for bugs over the last few years?

lljkk Wed 23-Oct-13 19:54:02

NoroV is a newish bug & it hasn't spread everywhere... YET. Just think, E.Coli o157 was originally confined to just one patient in 1975; now it's most everywhere.

misspontypine Wed 23-Oct-13 19:54:52

I think it is possibly because kids spend so much time inside due to tge pressure to start formal education young and the British people's fear of innocuous weather.

I live in a Scandinavian country, the 1-7 year olds are outside for most of the day, the babies/toddlers usually nap outside. The children are outside in tge rain, snow and -15 degree temperatures.

I was talking about my time at school ( in the UK) and mentioned "wet play" staying in the classroom when it rained. My dp thought the concept of kids staying inside because of rain was hilarious especially considering the crap British weather

Stress I think could be another contributing factor. A person's immune system is compromised by stress. Studies have shown that the children in the country I live are happier than the children in the UK, it would make sense that their immune systems would work better.

LaFataMalvagia Wed 23-Oct-13 19:56:45

Oooh skating for PE - how lovely! I used to be SO jealous of my cousins who did skiing for their PE in Northern Italy. I got to do field hockey instead. It was grim.

LoveSewingBee Wed 23-Oct-13 20:02:47

Based on my personal experience I do think kids are more often ill in the UK whilst at school. More parents are both working, and possibly feel under pressure to send ill kids to school. Also, many more kids in before and after school care, so kids are more time atnschool and for longer exposed to illnesses.

The carpets in many UK schools combined with poor standard of cleaning don't help either.

Feminine Wed 23-Oct-13 20:10:02

harticus I said generally hmm back at ya!

In my experience I have found Americans to be cleaner.

I'm basing that on 2 American boyfriends, 1 American husband (19 years worth) 3 American children! Oh and having lived there...7 years.

Americans work more with prevention. From dentistry ...to schools.

For years they have used hand sanitizers in schools. This year is the first they have bothered at my children's primary.

they sanitize the chairs, door knobs ...tables as routine.

Here, they just hoover.

lljkk Wed 23-Oct-13 20:27:30

Wondering if my having lived in USA for first 24 years of my life somehow trumps Feminine's credentials.

gnittinggnome Wed 23-Oct-13 20:32:48

Don't forget also, germs are different in different places - when we came back to the UK from overseas, DH came down with three different colds/chest infections in the first 6 months because a) when he's sick that's where he gets sick and b) he had no immunity to UK germs, having been living elsewhere for a few years.

When you come back to the UK be aware that your immune systems won't be familiar with all the nasties around, so if you do fall sick it likely won't be because we're all grubby blighters who can't wash our hands properly without mixer taps hmm, but because your immune system has been taken by surprise.

LaGuardia Wed 23-Oct-13 20:35:54

In the UK we take our kids to indoor soft play, which is a breeding ground for germs and viruses. I truly believe the very first cases of norovirus coincided with the invention of indoor soft play. Filth holes.

Feminine Wed 23-Oct-13 20:45:19

lljkk. I'd say it does.

I wanted to illustrate to harticus that I wasn't basing my opinion on hot air!

Feminine Wed 23-Oct-13 20:48:59

gnit I take your point.

But, funny how it didn't work the other way round. (when we arrived in the US)

My DH worked in a high school, he was in charge of maintenance. Its mind blowing how much in depth cleaning takes place there.

I think you have been incredibly lucky. My 7 and 9yo average 2 colds a year, have had one d&v bug in their lives. Ds had had chicken pox, his sister didn't catch it. Dd1 has had lice once at nursery. Ds hasn't seen the dr since he was 5yo, dd went for the first time since she was 2yo earlier this year when she had a really vile sore throat which needed antibiotics. I don't think their environments are particularly germ free, just that I'm very lucky to have 2 children with good immune response that have never been in contact with anything particularly nasty.
I also think you have to consider the environment in the uk, our weather being what it is, our kids probably spend more time indoors than kids in other countries, in close proximity to others, and therefore pass germs on to their friends.

misspontypine Wed 23-Oct-13 22:19:49

The weather isn't the problem, it is the lack of weather suitable clothing and people's fear of perfectly manageable weather.

Misspontypine - I'm not familiar with Scandinavian weather, does it rain a lot there? Because it does here. All the bloody time. Kids do play out in the rain when its feasible, but quite often the rain is the sort that even with a good coat on you are wet from the waist down, and sitting around in damp clothes shivering all day for the sake of playing out doesn't sound like my idea of fun. I don't mind freezing temperatures, I have appropriate clothing and gloves and I love snow more than I like hot sunny weather, but I really really hate the rain

FannyBazaar Wed 23-Oct-13 22:30:37

My 8YO DS has had chicken pox but none of the other things. We spend a lot of time outdoors except when he is at school and after school care where they keep them in a lot in winter time. Why is it that prisoners are allowed out every day but not school children?

mousmous Wed 23-Oct-13 22:33:16

twatty scandinavia is bloody famous for being cold and wet.
but they are also famous for stylish weather (=rain) proof clothes.

Sirzy Wed 23-Oct-13 22:33:46

DS is nearly 4 and the only thing from your list he has had is chicken pox.

He does have severe asthma and all his other illnesses have been linked to that.

He spends lots of time outside in weather suitable clothes.

misspontypine Wed 23-Oct-13 22:34:23

It does rain here although in the winter the precipitation falls as snow. It rains an awful lot less than in tge UK but the snow is very wet and slushy as it is melting.

Kids here have rain trousers that go up to their chest and hook under wellies and good rain jackets. I worked with young children, they could actually sit in puddles and still come out dry.

The kids also have snow suits ( often 2 one for home one for school)

All schools and nurseries have drying cupboards so all the wet cloths get put in tge drying cupboard so the kids have warm dry cloths to walk home in.

Mattissy Wed 23-Oct-13 22:35:23

My children are rarely ill but both have had CP, dd has had a few colds in her life but I don't remember ds (12) ever having one.

I do think the weather here and therefore the lack of an outdoor life means UK children miss out on the health benefits it can bring. Mine are both pretty sporty so maybe that helps.

I went to a US university and was in Miami for 6 years, I would say that in public areas the US are cleaner but def not in private houses.

FreudiansSlipper Wed 23-Oct-13 22:35:36

some of my family live in California and they are constantly getting vitamin b jabs if they feel a cold coming on

my nieces seemed to have gone through the same things as ds has here

i think crowded areas cities like london you are in constant close proximity to others, those coming from abroad (or visiting here) so it is not surprising so many germs are about (not suggesting those coming here are dirty)

sneakysneakynamechange Wed 23-Oct-13 22:38:55

Ds's school is certainly filthy, although the new head has improved things somewhat. I've visited the secondary school he will go to, it is minging.

Having said that, so is our house, and [touch wood] ds and I are pretty healthy.

Feckbloodypets Wed 23-Oct-13 22:40:15

I am going to touch lots of wood here.
DS is now 12 never had nits, chicken pox, noro or any other normal(for the uk) type of childhood illness and I know I am bloody lucky but I will admit I don't have the cleanest house (cant belive I am admitting this but I don't have bloody time) and he lives most of the year outside in totally unsuitable clothing due to the horses and rugby. So shorts, short sleeved rugby tops, jodphurs and t-shirts (to hot) if he wears anything else.
But due to genetic excema we have never over bathed or been that concerned about him playing in the manure heap or on the floor with the dogs.

ouryve Wed 23-Oct-13 22:45:12

I don't think going outside in the rain we had this morning would have been conducive to anyone remaining healthy. It was sheeting down. The condensation from 170 coats getting several soakings and being left to hung, tightly packed, in the corridors of a victorian school building would be guaranteed to encourage mould. Very healthy.hmm

(by the time I'd done the 1.5 mile round trip to school and back, my top to toe waterproofs were all wet through. Then the rain became even heavier just after I got home)

tiggytape Wed 23-Oct-13 22:48:20

It must be the climate.
It doesn't get cold enough to properly kill off any bugs over the winter.
It doesn't get hot enough that people are outside all day rather than cooped up indoors in close proximity to each other
It rains a lot and is sort of warmish and damp most of the year round which is what bugs like.

Mintyy Wed 23-Oct-13 22:51:05

No Tiggy, it is not true that the cold kills off bugs. As I said upthread, norovirus is an illness associated with very cold climates (Sweden and North America particularly).

trixymalixy Wed 23-Oct-13 22:53:41

DS is 6, DD is 4. Of your list they have only had headlice up until now.

They have had scarlet fever, slapped cheek and a few colds, plus DS had a 5 night stay in hospital with pneumonia which triggered an asthma attack.

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