Some Facts about Childhood Immunity – Caruso's Natural Health Blog

Caruso's Natural Health

Some Facts about Childhood Immunity

Did you know that babies are born without a fully developed immune system and it takes years for it to be fully established?  

Children’s immune systems develop as children come in contact with and are exposed to micro-organisms such as bacteria and viruses. Exposure to these organisms does not mean that your child will always get sick, in fact these organisms can be of benefit in helping to establish your child’s immune system and its responses, whilst others can be less beneficial to your child’s health and may contribute to infections such as the common cold and flu. Newborn babies however are protected more than you may think as during pregnancy the mother makes antibodies that are able to make their way across the placenta and into the babies body.

These antibodies help the baby in the first few months, but with time the antibodies they received from the mother diminish. (Breastfeeding can continue to providing these antibodies). The thick, yellowish milk (colostrum) produced for the first few days following birth is particularly rich in antibodies. Immunity in newborn babies is only temporary and starts to decrease after the first few weeks or months.

Premature babies are at higher risk of developing an illness because their immune systems are not as strong and they haven’t had as many antibodies passed to them.

Statistics show that the average child under 12 has 4-8 respiratory tract infections per year, [1] which may not only affect their physical health and immune system but may also affect time spent with friends and performance in school.

[1] Gruber C, Keil T, Kulig M, et al. History of respiratory infections in the first 12 yr among children from a birth cohort. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2008;19:505–12

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