Sending kids to school with colds makes them worse – fact!

One in three parents think sending their children to school with a cold will help build their immunity. But up to a quarter of youngsters who turn up for lessons with a bug have seen it develop into a much more serious ailment as a result.
Tissue firm Kleenex surveyed 2,300 mothers of young children for the launch of Sneezesafe, a campaign to teach kids how to behave when they have a cold. Yet it may be mums who need educating.

The study found 35% think going to school with a cold will help them build up a defence system so they will not fall to every bug in the playground.

Many seem to have an element of bravado with 39% claiming that when their child starts sneezing and wheezing the reaction is “it’s only a cold.” Only 10% of parents actually worry about it, said the research.

But many experts say immunity will not be built up this way and colds will keep returning – the amount of sneezes, coughs and wheezes among the nation’s primary school pupils would appear to back this up.

The survey, run by Kleenex along with parenting website raisingkids.co.uk shows one in ten kids (10%) get a cold every other week in the winter and one in five (21%) get a cold every month this time of year. Only 1% of parents say their children never get a cold.

A quarter (24%) say these colds lead to something more serious ranging from infections like tonsillitis and ear ache to increased cases of allergies and asthma. The Sneezesafe* campaign, aimed at 4-6 years-olds is designed to teach youngsters to use a tissue when sneezing and other ways of avoiding the spread of germs, It follows a similar health message about to be issued
by the government this winter.

Only 15% of parents say they always keep a sniffling child away from school or nursery though this may also have as much to do with working mums as health concerns.

Only seven% of parents ever take days off to look after a child with nothing more serious than a cold and 16% say that when they do send them to school “I feel guilty but I have to go to work.”

A spokesman for Kleenex said: “Despite the fact that 35% of parents think that kids build up immunity by being exposed to cold viruses, there is no scientific evidence for this fact because viruses mutate each time they are past on.

“Children’s immune systems therefore cannot develop antibodies against all of these viruses. Colds are a fact of life and through the launch of our Sneezesafe programme we aim to teach kids how to minimise the spread of cold viruses from child to child”.

For more information or to download the free interactive resources, go to www.sneezesafe.co.uk?

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