By Anne Clarke
Just as the parents of older children hop that their child will be exposed to chicken pox when they are still young, a similar concept can be applied to the flu, common colds, etc. Don’t hesitate to sign your child in to daycare for the day just because another child looks a bit under the weather. This is encouraged after infancy however when your baby reaches toddler hood (approximately 16 months) is a good time to ease your concerns about temporary illnesses your child can catch from other toddlers.
The concept behind the necessity of a child being exposed to chicken pox at an early age is that the disease is MUCH more harmful to an adult. And once you have had chicken pox, it is incredibly rare for a person to contract it again. Chicken pox is easier on children, and builds the proper immunity within their bodies to refuse the illness. If your child is not exposed to at least some of the common colds when he or she is young, you can be sure that the experience of becoming ill when he or she is older will be a much more painful one.
Again, exposure to any kind of disease is not going to be a pleasant experience for you or for your child—and yet it is essential that we allow it to happen. As with chicken pox, when your child becomes ill he or she will begin to build immunity to that illness. Not that your child will never get a cold ever again if he or she had a bad cold at eighteen months, but for the next cold the baby’s body will know better how to fight it.
When we are adults, there are often demands on our time, and getting sick can be more than an inconvenience. If an adult has been exposed to several kinds of illnesses as a child, in adulthood he or she is less likely to suffer as much or as long because biological protection has been built up in his or her immune system by previous exposure.
Anne Clarke writes numerous articles for websites on gardening, parenting, fashion, and home decor. Her background includes teaching and gardening. For more of her articles on child health care visit Child and Baby Illness.