CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Does staying at home and hand washing more than usual impact a child’s immune system?
“The stakes are higher because of the concerns about COVID, but the precautions are higher too,” said Dr. Rick Tobey with Saint Francis Healthcare System.
It’s an extended summer of extra hand washing and staying at home for kids. According to Dr. Tobey, that combination alone will not weaken their immune systems.
“You will encounter fewer germs that way, so you won’t be as exposed to a broad number of things. But chances are you’re still getting exposed to all those things anyways. But by washing your hands, you’re not getting as much in your eyes and face and nose,” he said.
He said the more germs and bacteria children are exposed to, the more likely they’ll get sick.
“Whenever you get the kids together, they’re going to share germs. Whether it’s going to be more or less this year remains to be seen. I think we will see a spike of all illnesses, just because the kids are closer together,” said Dr. Tobey.
Dr. Tobey hoped fewer kids get sick this year, because he said COVID-19 precautions at school should also decrease all disease transmission.
“Have your kids get enough rest, have them take a multivitamin every day, and have them get some moderate physical activity every day. That should help,” he said.
Also, don’t forget about kids’ emotional well-being, which also keeps their immune systems strong.
Dr. Tobey stressed individual situations vary for kids, depending on certain health conditions or immunocompromised family members. He recommended reaching out to a pediatrician with questions or concerns.