Do Kids in Day Care Get More Colds?


Do Kids in Day Care Get More Colds?

How Many Days of Runny Noses In a Year?

Group of children in a primary school in Paris

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Yes and no. At first, kids in day care do get more colds than kids who stay home. Then, the older they get, the fewer colds they get, fewer than those who stayed home during those day care years. That is, once they hit school-age, children who stayed at home get more colds than children who were in day care.

I remember my second son getting a cold when he was two months old. As I was nursing, I thought he couldn’t get sick. But, I had a cold, so, of course he didn’t have immunity from a cold I wasn’t immune to.

Children get an average of six to ten colds a year, each lasting 10 to 14 days. That’s 60 to 140 days of runny noses a year.

Besides, there are other risk factors for colds than day care:

  • More siblings
  • Low family income

This information comes from two studies. One studied 135,000 children in Denmark, which found that children under two in day care were more likely to get colds than those at home, especially those in day care who were under six months. One studied children up to 13, finding that those who had been to day care as pre-schoolers were much less likely to get colds than those who had not.

Is There Anything You Can Do?

Hand washing is the best preventive for colds. Your grandchildren should wash their hands after they go to the bathroom. They should wash their hands before they eat. They should wash their hands after they come home from somewhere, like day care.

The second thing you can do is teach your grandchildren not to touch their eyes or mouth. It is picking up germs from touching something someone with a cold handled, then touching your eyes or mouth where the cold can enter the body, that spreads the germs.

The third thing you can do, though it doesn’t eliminate the cold, is help with symptoms. Tylenol and Motrin help with aches and fever. Do not give children aspirin, as it can lead to the rare Reye’s Syndrome, which can be fatal. The FDA has recommended that children under four not be given cough or cold medicines.

Thanks to the book, Don’t Cross Your Eyes…They’ll Get Stuck That Way for answering this question.

Do you get as many colds as you used to? When did you start noticing you had fewer colds? Did you ever travel anywhere and get a new cold?

To you and keeping your sweet grandchildren healthy.

Carol Covin, Granny-Guru, Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers”

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Filed in: Health

Comments (19 )

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  1. rebeccatirabassi says:

    Hi I like this article. It is nice to have accurate information out there!


    • Geek Girl says:

      Absolutely! Bad information is worse than no information in my view. 🙂

  2. A benefit of day care is building the anti bodies your children need to boost their immune system. We have become so germ phobic that it is actually hurting us more than helping us.

    • Geek Girl says:

      I agree. Day care is one way to build up resistance.

  3. mkslagel says:

    This post made me laugh–not because it was humorous–but because I have a very good friend of mine who never fears getting sick. If he asks for a sip of your drink or a bite of your food and you try to warn him you are sick, he always replies with, "It's okay, I went to daycare." He even does it when people point out to him that everyone is sick but him. I've never done much research on the topic so I enjoyed this post.

    • Geek Girl says:

      I love it! I need to remember that, "it's okay, I went to daycare"

  4. JeriWB says:

    An increase in colds, asthma, and allergies all have been hastened by the germ phobia John mentioned. I take lots of vitamin C and I think it does help keep colds away. It had been over three years since I had a cold. Then I got a really bad one this January. Even when I was in the classroom all the time, I didn't get sick very often and all kinds of germs were there! So in addition to vitamin C I should probably give some credit to the hand sanitizer I kept on my desk 😉

    • Geek Girl says:

      Whenever I have to be exposed to conditions I am not normally exposed to I load up on Echinacea & Goldenseal as well as massive doses of Vit C. It really does make a difference.

  5. Leora says:

    I like the friend who responds, "it's okay, I went to day care!"

    I made radical changes in my diet when I was in my early thirties – now I pay attention to everything I eat, and I try to eat lots of vegetables and some fruit. I used to get sick a lot, and now I hardly ever do. Can't remember the last time I got sick. Taking care of one's mental health helps a lot as well.

    For some, exposure to germs helps build immunity. For others, they unfortunately just seem to get sick even more.

    • Geek Girl says:

      There are people who just seem to be 'sickly'. They get everything that's going around and then get it again. It's like their immunity never catches up so they catch everything. Then there are those who are around everything and never catch anything. I think I am one of those people in the middle. I catch things, but not often. When I do it's a nightmare…

  6. carolcovin says:

    I've been paying a lot more attention to hand-washing and eating high-Vitamin C fruits, like grapefruit. Haven't had a cold or flu in a long time, knock on wood.

  7. findingourwaynow says:

    I had to laugh. When I was a first grade teacher I was sick all the time for the first three years and then I wasn't. I now rarely get sick. I attribute that to a great immune system due to may early years as a teacher. I would think that would hold true for the children as well. Just my thoughts. 🙂

    • Geek Girl says:

      Yeah, being around all those first graders would probably do it. LOL

  8. Interesting article! One rule we have in our house, when you're sick you don't eat sugar. The kids are now used to it and don't complain. And it helps with recovery a lot!

    • Geek Girl says:

      I agree. Sugar just makes germs grow faster, in my view. 🙂

  9. carolcovin says:

    Don't eat sugar. What great advice! How did you come up with that? It certainly makes sense.

  10. yearwoodcom says:

    I remember when my kids started school, I used to refer to their classrooms as petri dishes because they seemed to cultivate every cold known to human kind. Of course, now there seems to be little that bothers them. I work in a healthcare and we treat hand washing like the be all and end all. It really does make a tremendous difference. Thank you for the great blog.

  11. carolcovin says:

    And, hand washing is so simple. I love it when researchers find out what really works.

  12. Thank you for sharing Cheryl.. I would also add that proper nutrition and adequate hydration are key to building strong immune systems. But I do believe those early colds do build up our children's immunity which is why they tend to get fewer colds are they get older.