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?

tiggytape Wed 23-Oct-13 22:55:33

Ahh see - I was basing the cold weather theory entirely on the fact that CP season in the UK starts as soon as it starts to get warmer (spring is the traditional time) and old lady assertions that snowy weather will kill off all the nasty cold bugs

It is probably that the snowy weather in fact stops people going to school or visiting each other or catching packed commuter trains since the UK isn't great with snowy transport solutions. I guess it might be a less direct cause and effect!

Retroformica Wed 23-Oct-13 23:17:28

I think it's good they get bugs, builds up immunity. You child could run into problems later

mummytime Wed 23-Oct-13 23:46:25

In some places Nits for example are seen as so shameful that parents wouldn't tell the school or the school might not inform parents. If enough people are dosing with Nit killer often enough it might keep the problem low (but the chemicals might induce long term damage...I'm not sure).

Chicken pox comes in waves, I haven't known anyone have it for 4 years or so.

Do you get colds at all? Or Flu? Often all kinds of Stomach bugs can be called flu (but not in the UK).

Maybe people just don't talk about illness as much?

I'm sure when I was a kid a lot of the bugs my kids have had, just were ignored and covered up eg. Slapped Cheek and Hand Foot and Mouth.

Preciousbane Thu 24-Oct-13 00:05:12

My Swedish mate is always perturbed that Brits don't wear proper coats. I know you need to pick up the bugs in the first instance but doesn't being cold lower the immune system?

No secondary school dc wear coats where we live. I was walking home two days ago and it was pissing it down. None of the dc walking home along main rd from DS secondary school had a coat. They were totally soaked and this was just over a mile from the school.

MIL is convinced people don't have enough air circulating in their houses.

Whirliebirdie Thu 24-Oct-13 00:26:39

I'd keep away from the 'hyperclean' antibacterial US approach. May prevent colds but cause more serious issues:

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/05/07/health/allergies-origin-country/

AveryJessup Thu 24-Oct-13 03:30:52

Well I live in the US and I've never been so sick in my life as I have here! I don't know if it's lack of immunity to local germs but I have been so ill since I moved here.

DS has had a couple if monster viruses too (D&V, colds, flu) but he is only a toddler and never lived anywhere else so hard to know if it's abnormal for him.

Americans do vaccinate a lot more but their kids do tend to be in group care from a much younger age compared to the UK unless there is a SAHP in the household.

AveryJessup Thu 24-Oct-13 03:34:52

Also food hygiene standards here seem to be very patchy. I've had some really bad experiences here when eating out even in relatively nice places. I'm careful where I earnie and usually only go to the same few places.

AveryJessup Thu 24-Oct-13 03:35:26

* eat

Christ...

Likeaninjanow Thu 24-Oct-13 09:46:59

I have 2dc (5 & 8), and they've both had cp. older DC has had head lice once when he was 7. That's it. I'm not going to come on here & post that they're both well though!

Sunnysummer Thu 24-Oct-13 10:02:13

Coming from overseas, I agree that the weather is a real part of it - I grew up elsewhere in Europe where it was cold but not so rainy, so it was much easier for us to get outdoors and do things, so long as we were dressed warmly.

Still. I think that D&V and sniffles are pretty universal, but nits are a WAY bigger deal here than for my family overseas. That said, some cities in the US are now struggling with bed bugs, so it could be much worse smile

BeaWheesht Thu 24-Oct-13 10:10:45

When ds was 4 he'd never had worms, chickenpox. D&v, lice, anything other than chest and ear infections.

He's 6 now (and dd is 3) And since 4 he's had chickenpox, worms, d&v, slapped cheek, hand foot and mouth, swine flu and pneumonia.

So I suppose I could've assumed where we live isn't germ ridden initially but then been proven wrong!

MuffCakes Thu 24-Oct-13 10:14:29

I was reading up on d&v or the winter vomiting bug and its not so much (this is colds as well) the weather being damp in winter, it's more to do with windows not being opened and stale air carrying around airborne germs. In summer we are out more and windows are opened at home and school so germs don't have the chance to get in our systems.

jellyboatsandpirates Thu 24-Oct-13 11:13:07

I wouldn't say it was more germ ridden than anywhere else.

Vagndidit Thu 24-Oct-13 11:14:27

blush To be honest, public places do tend to feel a bit cleaner/tidier in the U.S. vs the U.K. I think it has more to do with the age of structures and level of upkeep than anything. I remember how grossed out I was when my son started school nursery a few months after we moved over from the U.S. It was in a very old Victorian school building that stunk of damp, old drafty windows and seemed very, very dirty. I had come from teaching in schools where anything built before 1970 was considered "old", so this was a major eye-opener for me.

The lack of space and extremely close quarters of structures in the U.K. also helps with germ distribution. Crammed in like sardines...cough-cough...

cherryademerrymaid Thu 24-Oct-13 11:19:41

FYI - a child can have worms and not really exhibit any noticeable symptoms. I've lived in 3 different countries including the UK and have not noticed more sickness here than anywhere else. My child is almost never ill. His peers don't seem to be sicker here than elsewhere. In contrast I've never had so many stomach bugs as during my first 5 years in the USA...

NotYoMomma Thu 24-Oct-13 11:28:00

people dont tend to post 'just thought iwould mention that my dd is totes healthy today'

pindorasbox Thu 24-Oct-13 11:30:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ILikeBirds Thu 24-Oct-13 11:33:06

When i lived in the US we had outbreaks of nits and pinkeye. Conjunctivitus in particular seemed to lead to mass hysteria and isolation rooms.

SolomanDaisy Thu 24-Oct-13 11:34:38

I don't live in the UK and I frequently go to toddler groups where every child seems to have a runny nose. My DS had had two vomiting bugs, once in the UK on holiday and once where we live. It seems no different to me.

Rosduk Thu 24-Oct-13 11:57:18

I think the way out children in the uk makes a huge difference. I know very few parents that have proper rain/snow suits for children so they are getting wet and often getting changed at home. I imagine this helps with catching colds!

exexpat Thu 24-Oct-13 12:08:55

My DCs were born in Japan and went to nursery/kindergarten/school there until they were aged 8 and 4. They both got chicken pox, even though some people in Japan vaccinate against it. Norovirus-style D&V bugs regularly did the rounds. We never got lice there, though I did hear of one outbreak at DS's school; they did get lice when they were at primary school in the UK, also threadworms, which they had never had in Japan. However, they must have been around, as DS's state-run Japanese nursery got parents to test for threadworms every year before the children were allowed to use the swimming/paddling pools.

I think you may just have been lucky, OP, though it may also make a difference if you are living somewhere with a low population density - we were in Tokyo, where things like norovirus and flu spread very rapidly due to crowded public transport etc, and we are now in a large-ish city in the UK with a lot of movement of people, which must mean that new viruses are constantly in circulation.

OrmirianResurgam Thu 24-Oct-13 12:17:33

Head lice, yep! CP, yes.

D&V, worms, endless colds, nope.

I think you must know some very unlucky people.

OP I think you are just lucky.

My DD is almsot 5, she has had coughs and colds, chicken pox aged 2, headlice once caught from older school kids at the childminders, and one virus in the spring that made her vomit loads. Sounds alot, BUT she has never had an ear or chest infection, slapped cheek, hand foot and mouth, worms etc. Swings and roundabouts smile

HexU Thu 24-Oct-13 14:04:01

Colds and allergies have been linked to poor ventilation in homes and corresponding poor air quality - its mold spores and their density particularly bad in homes where washing is dried inside. You can see why that might be an issue in UK homes with all the wet weather.

If by lice you mean head lice then yes my 3 DC have had all that you've listed but that over 8 years and I did take they out a lot as DC to toddler groups plus we've moved areas and traveled round UK fair bit on public transport.

The main source of illness though is from their school. It's not just the working parents that ignore the 48 hours guild lines all seem to.

Last winter the nearly had more DC off at one point down to D & V than in the school. Having hand sanitizers in school would help reduce that - many DC that winter took their own in.

HexU Thu 24-Oct-13 14:05:12

Mine did have chest infection when babies and toddlers but once we finally could move out the damp rental house that did seem to stop happening.

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