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Do premature babies catch more colds and viruses?

(21 Posts)
minipie Thu 06-Mar-14 17:43:22

DD is now 16 months and was 6 weeks early (not very early compared with lots of your LOs I know). She's generally doing well but she has come down with every bug going this autumn and winter. It's been back to back viruses since the beginning of September with the sole exception of Christmas week.

Just wondered if this is just the normal toddler experience or if prems have weaker immune systems for some reason? If so do they grow out of it? She was never on breathing support so don't think that's why...

fedupandfifty Thu 06-Mar-14 17:54:02

Mine had a permanent cold from about 6 months to 18months, and also ear infections and bronchiolitis. So maybe there is something about prematurity which predisposes prem babies to infections.

On a plus note, she's hardly had a cold or indeed any other illness since, and is very robust compared with her friends. So, yes, maybe their immune systems grow stronger through having had these illnesses?

I doubt a doctor would confirm my theory though.

hotair Thu 06-Mar-14 17:56:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hotair Thu 06-Mar-14 17:58:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

confuddledDOTcom Thu 06-Mar-14 18:01:23

My kids have always been more prone. Three of them were diagnosed with asthma very early, the youngest of them was diagnosed before he was one. Lungs maturing is one of the last things that happens so it's one of the things that is common in all/most premature babies.

minipie Thu 06-Mar-14 18:08:55

Wow, so many replies already! Thanks, interesting to hear it is common.

hotair that's interesting about the Cardiff study. I have read that a lot of late prem problems tend to show up later ie. 4 or 5 yo - more prone to ADHD and sensory disorders for example. So everyone says "oh but she's clearly fine" but I have that in the back of my head.

I did BF for a year (well I BF to 10 months then mix fed to 12 months) not that it seems to have helped much!

Slebmum Fri 07-Mar-14 12:56:35

My 31 weekers get a chest infection whenever they get a cold, I'm pretty sure it's related. As they get older they get less colds as their immunity is obviously improving but still always goes to their chests. I wouldn't be surprised if we end up with an asthma diagnosis somewhere down the line.

Gurke Fri 07-Mar-14 20:23:23

My now 18-month old 28 weeker has come down with something literally every couple of weeks since the autumn - for much of the time it's been a week on, week off - each time with a fever & whatever virus it happened to be (currently head cold & ear infection, and start of a stomach bug). And he hasn't even been to nursery yet, so god knows how much worse it will get once he starts going. He was ventilated for 5 days and on CPAP for a month, so I guess I always expected the respiratory problems, but I wasn't prepared for the mass of stomach bugs.

If I hear anyone in RL (who knows nothing about premies) telling me one more time that getting sick is good for them because it builds their immune system I'm going to punch them!

Pixiedust49 Fri 07-Mar-14 20:51:27

My DD was 6 weeks early. She catches every bug going. She's now 5 and at school, no let up so far.

Beveridge Fri 07-Mar-14 21:16:38

DS (32+4 but a whopping 5lb 5oz birthweight) seems to get everything going compared to his older sister but DH claims this is selective memory! I managed to get one steroid jab prior to delivery and he did not require any ventilation at all but he has always sounded likeDarthVader and gets really bunged up with slightest snuffle. However,so does his Dad!

So I don't know in DS's case but will be interesting to read Cardiff study when it comes out. His sister seems to get very mild versions of what he gets but presumably that's an age (gender? I always joke about DS and his 'manflus' but not sure if there's maybe something in it!)/previous exposure thing.

He did bf to 2.5 and is now 3 but unlike his sister he did have to have antibiotics twice while bfing though (she only needed them for the first time a couple of weeks after stopping).

neversleepagain Fri 07-Mar-14 21:48:15

Reading these replies have made me feel really thankful that our DD's (6 weeks early) have hardly had any illnesses. They are nearly 18 months and have had two colds (a nasty one at 4 months and a mild one at 10 months) and nothing since then.

livenlet Mon 10-Mar-14 10:37:49

Yes 16 months dd also gets every cold virus going ear infections, had rsv thers no let up dreading her starting nursery . She was born 32 weeks .

minipie Mon 10-Mar-14 10:44:30

Wow neversleep that's better going than most full term children I know! Do they go to nursery/playgroups etc?

Sounds like most of you are having the same experience as me though - I guess at least it's nothing I am doing wrong in that case! Unfortunately DD is also a bit of a Princess and the Pea when it comes to sleep, so every new bug means she's awake several times in the night. Sigh.

Roll on summer...

neversleepagain Tue 11-Mar-14 19:29:12

They don't go to nursery, I look after them. I avoid playgroups but we regularly meet up with friends who have babies/toddlers.

I very rarely get ill myself, my last cold was when I was 6 weeks pregnant with them so over 2 years ago. They will probably get every bug going and be constantly ill when they start school confused

neversleepagain Tue 11-Mar-14 19:33:49

mini we have had two hospital admissions since they were born, one at 12 weeks (2 days) and one at 12 months (5 days) which involved a blue light to hospital sad

At 12 week hospital admission, DT2 was diagnosed with reflux and at 12 months she caught some sort of mystery virus (which they originally thought was meningitis) and had all sort of horrible tests including lumbar puncture. So I guess I should count those too.

minipie Tue 11-Mar-14 22:26:09

ah poor you neversleep that's definitely worse than just colds. hope you avoid any further hospital visits. conversely we have had millions of minor bugs but never anything serious... so I am very grateful for that.

legoplayingmumsunite Tue 11-Mar-14 22:44:58

DS (just 4 weeks early) has spent more time in and out of hospital in his first 18 months than his 2 big sisters together have in the last 6 years. Thankfully all low level stuff (allergies, eczema, wheeziness) but very noticable in comparison to his tough as old boots sister who is never ill.

neversleepagain Wed 12-Mar-14 12:41:55

Thanks minipie I hope your little one has a cold free summer.

Poppet45 Fri 14-Mar-14 11:26:32

Babies get their transfer of maternal antibodies which prime their immune systems via the placenta in the third trimester so prem babies systems will always be weaker.. Dd only had 10 days in the third trimester! Important reserves of minerals like zinc only pass across then too and zinc is v imp for fighting infections. Dd always gets infections worse than her big brother and has been readmitted a few times. Pneumonia at 18 months was her most recent. However shes a real toughy and you never realise how sick she is whereas her brother def gets manflu.

Mandy21 Wed 19-Mar-14 22:28:20

DTs were 12 weeks early but didnt really get bugs - DT1 did get nora virus (D&V) and sniffles, but nothing more than that. They didnt have antibiotics until they were 19 months.

I did b/f until they were 11.5 months, and I was a bit protective arsy trying to keep them away from people with coughs and colds. H once came home from the doctors with stomach flu - I made him go and stay with his mother blush

mrsbug Wed 19-Mar-14 22:37:19

Dd was born 5 weeks early and is now 15 months. She doesn't seem to get any more colds than other babies, but she does get wheezy and has been prescribed ventolin. I am asthmatic so I guess there's a good chance she could develop it.

I still bf her, although wasn't encouraged to bf long term by the hospital who just wanted to fill her up with formula

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