Pregnancy

Being A Parent Gives You Superhuman Immunity, But Maybe You Knew That Already

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immunityBetween the home and the playgroup, germaphobic parents may feel like they’re constantly warding off disease. From mere sniffles to strep throat, having children can often seem like raising adorable germ incubators through which disease is constantly mutating. But even if you can trace all of your summer colds directly back to your kid’s camp buddies, it turns out that having little ones in the house may actually keep your immune system in tip top shape.

A Carnegie Mellon University study took a peek at health data from 795 grownups in which healthy participants were offered nose drops that contained rhinovirus (which causes colds) or influenza viruses. Results determined that those adults without children were 52% more likely to develop a cold. And get this — the number of children in the home seemed to impact that likelihood:

Parents with one or two children were 48 percent less likely to get sick while parents with three or more children were 61 percent less likely to develop a cold. Also, parents with children living both at home and away from home showed a decreased risk of catching a cold.

The study ‘s author, Sheldon Cohen, said that although being a parent is clearly “protective,” the disparities are not caused simply by moms and dads being exposed to more viruses. Rather, he posits that parents just have improved regulation of immune factors which controls infection.

Sounds superhuman to me.

(photo: Thomas M Perkins/ Shutterstock)