General Question

arij's avatar

Why do kids make me sick easier?

Asked by arij (342points) May 22nd, 2010 from iPhone

i can kiss my wife while she’s sick get coughed and sneezed on by adult strangers and I never get sick. I spend a couple of hours with children and if they cough or sneeze I’m sick the next day. I know it all my be cooincidence but I always get after being around children.

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9 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Kids are germ vectors. Seriously, it is a coincidence probably. The only thing I can think is kids touch everything and climb all over adults, so their germs are everywhere, but you said even when an adult sneezes on you, you never get sick, so it’s probably not that. Although, they once did a study of sick people and well people spending time in te same room, and sick peole and well people playing cards, and by a lot the card playing group caught the cold more often than just simply breathing in the “sick” air.

Jeruba's avatar

It may have always been my imagination, but in my experience, kids—some kids, at least, and my niece was certainly one of them—could take hold of an ordinary cold and twist it somehow so that when they passed it on it was something virulent. You wanted to catch it from the person who gave it to her and not wait to get it from her. The first would be a week’s annoyance and the second could lay you out flat for three weeks.

I’d ten times rather sit next to an adult than a kid with a cold on a plane, and I’ve done enough of both to say that with certainty.

casheroo's avatar

My niece is a germ carrier. We were there a couple weeks ago, and within two days, my older son was sick, then me, then my husband, then the baby…I was not pleased. We nicknamed our niece “typhoid mary”. It stinks. I’d love to go over there more often, but not at the expense of getting a major head cold/sore throat/deathly ill :(

perspicacious's avatar

I can’t say why, but I never get sick. I just visited my grandkids who were kind of sniffy and did indeed have cold symptoms by the time I came home. Maybe the virus gets supersized in kids. I have pediatrician friends and they never seem to catch these things from their patients.

Jeruba's avatar

@perspicacious, when my boys were young I asked their pediatrician how he managed to treat all those coughing, sneezing kids without catching everything they had. He laughed and said that at first, you do (meaning doctors beginning in practice). He was probably in his fifties by then and must have developed some amazing immunities.

And maybe that’s the simple answer (just speculating here): kids haven’t had time to build anything up, so maybe they’re just totally susceptible. Perhaps adults do gain some resistance with time.

JLeslie's avatar

I think there is over 100 rhinoviruses (the virus that causes colds). Kids are sicker more often, because they have not had most of the virus’ yet. Each time you get a specific rhinovirus you become immune to it, if you have a normal immune system, just like if you get chicken pox or measles you never catch it again. We think we are getting colds over and over again, but really we are getting a new rhinovirus each time, that just happens to follow a similar course each time. None of this explains why the OP might get sick around kids and not around adults, but I thought by some of the answers some people on the thread might be interested in how it all works.

tedibear's avatar

So, maybe the OP is simply coming in contact with new (to him/her) rhinoviruses being shared by the children. We teach them to share and complain when they do!

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Silhouette's avatar

If I’m within a hundred miles of a sick kid I catch the little boogers cooties. Most kids have poor hygiene practices, they wipe their noses on the back of their hands and don’t wash their hands. They lick things that ought not be licked and we kiss them anyway cause they’re cute.

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