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JLeslie's avatar

If one person in the house is sick, might the others become immune from exposure?

Asked by JLeslie (65335points) January 30th, 2020 from iPhone

Assuming the others don’t catch the cold or flu, is it possible the non-sick people can develop immunity to that virus because they were exposed?

I’m assuming the others weren’t previously immune.

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14 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

No, they will get sick, too.

MrGrimm888's avatar

To become immune, you have to catch the disease/virus. Or, have had ancestors, who had it. Only then, will your body develope antibodies, to kill it.
That’s how vaccines work. You are essentially given the disease/virus, in a very small amount. Then, your body makes a defense system, to fight it.

I had, what doctors called, a light case of chicken pox. It sucked, but I have seen far worse cases. Now. I’m immune.

I guess I am saying that the best way to become immune, is to not get the full blown version, and if possible, you can develop a defense for it. Some diseases/viruses, have no cure.

But. Dehydration, and other variables, play a big role in survival. With intravenous fluids, antibiotics, and blood transfusions, we can survive many formerly deadly issues.

Modern medicinal treatments, can keep us alive, until most diseases/viruses, run their course.

JLeslie's avatar

I know you get immune from actually getting sick, and I said in my opening post that the person is not previously immune.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I’m not sure if she became immune or was somehow already immune. But Typhoid Mary was an example of an asymptomatic carrier.

Wikipedia: ‘An asymptomatic carrier (healthy carrier or just carrier) is a person or other organism that has become infected with a pathogen, but that displays no signs or symptoms.

‘Although unaffected by the pathogen, carriers can transmit it to others or develop symptoms in later stages of the disease. Asymptomatic carriers play a critical role in the transmission of common infectious diseases such as typhoid, C. difficile, influenzas, and HIV. ’

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

To become immune, you have to catch the disease/virus…That’s how vaccines work. You are essentially given the disease/virus, in a very small amount.

To clarify – you don’t have to get the disease. You get exposed to the virus or bacteria, and some vaccines are inactivated (dead). It’s literally impossible to contract the disease from them, but you do get immunity. The other kind is attenuated (weakened).

Inactivated vaccine
Attenuated vaccine

MrGrimm888's avatar

Correct. Forgive me for not explaining more thoroughly.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

If we got into all the possibilities it would be exhausting, but I thought that little bit would be OK.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Yes. There are a plethora, of variables.

JLeslie's avatar

Ok, I’m only curious if someone can become immune from exposure, and I guess Typhoid Mary is actually a good example, Although, I wasn’t even thinking in terms of carriers. I think carriers are born with the immunity, so it’s different than what I was thinking.

I know how immunity basically works, I know how vaccines work, my mom even worked in vaccinations for the FDA if I need to drive home that point to the jellies here. That exactly why I was thinking maybe exposure at low enough levels might develop immunity.

I was just thinking of all the times I’ve been sick and my husband didn’t catch it, or that he has been sick and I didn’t catch it, especially the flu, because I know how many times I’ve had the flu, and he’s had it more times than I have. I take care of him, but I sleep in a separate room, I wash up well after helping him, etc.

Right now I have the flu, totally miserable, and so far he hasn’t caught it, but it’s possible he has had this strain before, or, God forbid, he will start developing symptoms. I don’t know if he took the vaccine this year, and I have no idea if my flu was covered in this years vaccine. I checked the flu map and it looks like it’s very widespread this year in America.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Well. The Influenza vaccine, is only for the most common strain. You can still get the Flu. Just probably not the one that you are vaccinated against.

JLeslie's avatar

@MrGrimm888 The flu vaccine is the best guesses of strains in a specific year. They track the flu as it travels across continents. This year it’s quadrivalent, some years there are choices of three or four strains, and most patients have no idea what they are getting anyway.

I didn’t get the flu vaccine. I’m not asking about the flu vaccine at all. I know more than most people about vaccines. I’m asking about exposure to the actual flu.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Apologies. I felt that my comment, was relevant to the thread…

JLeslie's avatar

No need to apologize. I’m just trying to clarify.

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