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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?

rubyslippers Wed 23-Oct-13 18:57:23

I think you and your famy have been really lucky

mrscumberbatch Wed 23-Oct-13 18:58:10

Dd's never had any of them either, nor any children that I know personally....

I suppose people aren't going to post that their children are healthy are they? I think you may be assuming that these posts equal a larger number of the population than they do.

LEMisdisappointed Wed 23-Oct-13 19:00:08

My DD is 8, i cannot actually remember the last tiime she was sick, she had 100% attendance cert last year at school, so clearly wasn't sick then. I have only taken her to the doctors once when she was 10m and that was norovirus. She has been a few times for injuries though - im surprised we haven't had a call from SS smile

RunsWithScissors Wed 23-Oct-13 19:02:22

WRT chicken pox, are you in a country that vaccinates for it?

Feminine Wed 23-Oct-13 19:02:27

where are you?

We lived in the US for children were very rarely ill. One of them not once.

Since returning here, although still healthy -they have picked up much more.

The schools in the UK are not cleaned to the same high standard as the US. I know that very well. Americans are cleaner generally.

MsHighwater Wed 23-Oct-13 19:02:51

Ime, illnesses other than coughs, colds, etc are not common or widespread. DD (8) is healthy and has only missed a few days' school with a tummy bug earlier this year (I was ill with it, too). Same goes, on the whole, for most of her pals. Bad news travels fastest.

lljkk Wed 23-Oct-13 19:07:41

I am they vaccinate against CP where you live, OP?

I always think the British are neurotic about cleanliness!

I never had headlice as a kid but cousins growing up 120 miles away had them frequently.

American parents online seem to talk endlessly about ear infections.

No D&V bugs at all, though? Wow. Though I can't remember when DC last had one (tempting fate...)

Lamu Wed 23-Oct-13 19:08:07

I've always wondered about this and thought maybe its to do with the UK climate.

From September to March Dd 2 has a constant cold, cough and runny nose etc. Having grown up in a hot climate I can count on one hand the amount of times I was sick as a child and my mother agrees. Since living here I get several colds each winter mainly passed on from Dd and have had multiple chest infections.

Thingymajigs Wed 23-Oct-13 19:09:55

As soon as my children hit school age they started catching everything. Ds1 has quite a strong immune system so was rarely ill but did get chicken pox and passed it on to his newborn brother. Chicken pox is viewed as a very normal childhood experience here.
Ds2 caught every virus going and has allergies and asthma which probably weaken him quite a bit.
I think its down to individual children but I've always thought it weird how common nits are in school age kids. We've been through 4 short lived outbreaks.

lljkk Wed 23-Oct-13 19:11:21

My dad used to get terrible sinus trouble every winter, often wiped out by it, weeks off work. Until he started getting annual flu jabs. His terrible winter illnesses stopped after that.

He has lived in Southern California all his life. So I don't really subscribe to the climate link theory.

Mintyy Wed 23-Oct-13 19:14:15

Norovirus thrives in cold weather.

harticus Wed 23-Oct-13 19:17:12

Americans are cleaner generally.

Yeah that is right because all 60 million British people are absolutely fucking identical.

ColderThanAWitchsTitty Wed 23-Oct-13 19:18:51

Chicken pox isn't to with being clean.. i suspect you have been lucky so far or people vaccinate. If you are in the US they vaccinate

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

Definitely safer to stay where you are.

WhereDoAllTheCalculatorsGo Wed 23-Oct-13 19:21:34

The Americans I know always seem to bang on about mono and strep throat.
My DS caught norovirus at a holiday camp a few years back. It was nasty. Germ-ridden Butlins, indeed.

Louise1956 Wed 23-Oct-13 19:24:17

my sons all had chicken pox when they were young, and the two younger ones were frequently plagued with head lice when they were in primary school, though now they are in secondary school they don't get them any more. they get colds from time to time. I don't know what kids in other countries get, or whether it is normal or not. What germ free realm do you inhabit?

JacqueslePeacock Wed 23-Oct-13 19:26:08

harticus, saying that X is generally cleaner than Y is clearly NOT saying that all Ys are identical, is it? hmm

Doitnicelyplease Wed 23-Oct-13 19:27:04

Yes we have been lucky for sure, very thankful for that.

Good point that people aren't going to post that their kid was having a perfectly healthy day!

And great to hear that quite a few of you have kids who have avoided some of these bugs. We are heading back to the UK at Christmas and I had visions of us all coming down with some horrendous D&V bug (but I know there is no guarantees and all that).

I am not in America by the way, nor in a remote or rural area and they do vaccinate against CP.

LaFataMalvagia Wed 23-Oct-13 19:29:14

Massive generalisation/personal anecdote.

Children in Britain do seem to get and have way more bugs/allergies than I did/my cousins' children do now in Italy.

I (and my mum and other random Italian people I've had this conversation with) think it's due to a combination of the constant damp drizzlyness of the weather and all the wall to wall carpets everywhere.

Mamafratelli Wed 23-Oct-13 19:29:50

I lived in the tropics for three years. There were lots more bugs there and you couldn't get rid of them. Coughs meant nebulisers for the kids, lots of ear infections and antibiotics. Most if the bugs now we are back in the UK have cleared up quickly and on their own.

mousmous Wed 23-Oct-13 19:32:46

I blame
- public transport
- single taps that make it difficult to wash hands with warm running water
- people not being dressed appropriately

Doitnicelyplease Wed 23-Oct-13 19:35:54

I never said where we live is germ free, it is just that I don't seem to hear about D&V, nits etc in real life even though I have a school aged DD.

I am interested in the why and possible differences, not trying to say the UK is dirty! Maybe germ ridden was a bit harsh but this is AIBU afterall.

I grew up in the UK and don't remember having that many bugs or illnesses, I did have chicken pox at 3 and nits a couple of times though.

It is more the spread of noro and D&V type bugs that I was thinking of (that weren't around as much 30 odd years ago).

Artandco Wed 23-Oct-13 19:43:43

I'm not sure. Some people do seen to get sick more than others I agree.

In general I think people tend to spend a lot of time inside in the uk compared to other countries. Ie in the winter in soft play/ shopping centres/ schools etc.. Where as many other countries would spend more time outside where germs spread less easily.

I know if we are 'ill' ie have runny nose/ sore throat then we stay away from people and go for long walks to allow us to breathe easier and get some excercise. Usually ok a day or two later. In comparison friends spend their days at friends sniffing or at home watching tv coughing over people and generally passing it on.

We also always wash hands and faces when we get in from outside which when living in London and using public transport I think is a big factor in reducing germs .

WallyBantersJunkBox Wed 23-Oct-13 19:45:16

I am a hater of carpets and curtains too - they are dust gatherers. DS has had less than a handful of days off here in Switzerland in 4 years, but i had put that down to giving him a pro-biotic drink every day. grin

All children have to wear indoor shoes. And take their outdoor ones off on entering the building - I think this helps, as I remember DS still playing on the floor in UK primary with everyone trampling in outdoor shoes. The wood floors are mopped each night too.

There are also only 8 kids in a class in his school, and the max number is 18 generally so I think infections can be curtailed a little more easily, and the classrooms are a similar size.

Kids are also dressed more appropriately for the weather I think - proper winter boots, jackets and under layers and they are outside for a lot of time - minimum of 2 hours a day exercise. Most kids walk unaccompanied to school on all weather too from the age of 3/4, so they are well kitted out in sturdy clothing. There are very few occasions when children can't play outside in breaks or for sports - we have now changed to ice skating as the main winter sport in the school for example.

We did get a letter about head lice the other day, but DS never had it in the UK either - much to the annoyance of some of the other mums. He does have a verruca on his big toe at the moment if that doesn't skew the statistics? grin

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