Could Having Young Kids Protect You From COVID?

From sleep deprivation to Lego injuries, the hazards of having young kids are endless. But there’s at least one important health benefit, according to a new study. Having germ-infested little ones at home may protect you from severe symptoms of COVID-19.

Kaiser Permanente Northern California in Oakland reviewed medical records for more than 3 million patients from February 2019 through January 2021. They found that adults without kids were 49% more likely to be hospitalized if they contracted COVID-19. Compared to adults with children ages 5 and under, they were 76% more likely to stay in an intensive care unit.

It could be that all the germs your kid brings home from daycare have some protective value.

"One hypothesis that people batted around was maybe people that had a lot of common colds in the past few years may have some built-up immunity to cope with COVID-19, and then either not get an infection at all or get only a mild infection and not a severe one," said lead researcher Dr. Matthew Solomon.

"This idea of the kind of built-up immunity really resonated with a lot of people. And we thought, well, maybe we can look in our database and see if we can identify a signal of that," Solomon said.

That would suggest preschool teachers and daycare workers have some extra protection as well. But this is just a hypothesis, and there’s nothing definitive. 

“Having small children does not confer absolute protection," Solomon said. "Our study is just suggestive of this effect. This is one small piece of a very large puzzle that scientists are working to unravel.”

Read more about the interesting findings at U.S. News.  


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