To think the UK is germ ridden?(85 Posts)
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?
My children were rarely ill in primary school, or nursery. I think not being too neurotic about ultra-hygiene helped.
My US friend, whose children are primary school aged, always has one or the other of them off with viruses. And it's doctors' appointments all the time. Over here we just keep them at home and give them Calpol if they really need it.
'I conclude that the UK is not as germ ridden as I thought and my opinion was definitely skewed by reading about various bugs and illnesses on here.'
The thing is though, people are hardly likely to start threads entitled 'my childn isn't ill', so of course you get a skewed perspective from reading mumsnet.
when I moved to the us (to work as au pair) I had every bug going in the winter. I think I had a cold from sept to march non stop.
and we had one memorable norovirus incident that had the whole family (including me) down at the same time.
I think if you move to a different country there are different strains about and your body has to get used to them.
Havnt read through everything! Apologies.
I wonder if its the climate.
Bugs always seem to increase at the hange of season time, I think!
It may have been an odd post but all the replies made for interesting reading, good to hear a wide range of experiences.
I conclude that the UK is not as germ ridden as I thought and my opinion was definitely skewed by reading about various bugs and illnesses on here.
I am neither sanctimonious or naive - just curious.
Germs aren't generally country specific other than those caused by specific parasites and neither is immunity. My son hasn't had any of the infections you mention. What an odd post.
Both my ds's have had chicken pox. But other than that, are very rarely ill. Other than CP, I have had to take about 5 days off, to look after them, when they have a bad cough or cold, in the last say 3 years or so.
Ds1 has over 90% attendance for every year he has been at school.
Just one of those things.
Some kids are really sickly. Some in ds1's class seem to be off all the time.
Op sounds a bit sanctimonious and naieve. It has nothing to do with it being the UK, as a country. Her views just seem odd.
DS is three and has never required antibiotics, at most has fallen victim to a snuffly nose once or twice.
It's pure luck.
We've lived in a few different countries and my kids have been just as sick in all of them. Nit/worms notes came home from school just as frequently as well. The only difference that we found were CP obviously didn't do the rounds in the countries that vaccinate.
You have just been lucky. I don't live in the UK either and all of my children have had virtually everything possible - nits, chicken pox, they have been hosptalised for rota virus and croup. And they are generally considered healthy children.
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.
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.
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
Head lice, yep! CP, yes.
D&V, worms, endless colds, nope.
I think you must know some very unlucky people.
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.
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!
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.
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.
people dont tend to post 'just thought iwould mention that my dd is totes healthy today'
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...
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...
I wouldn't say it was more germ ridden than anywhere else.
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.
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!
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.