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Are our children's immune systems weakened after lockdown?

The last 15 months have been hugely different for us including our children. Sometimes a little time outside is good for their immune system.

SAN DIEGO — The last 15 months have looked very different, especially for our kids. No in-person learning, no playgrounds and very little social interaction. These are all things that have been shown to help boost a child's immune system.

While sanitizing and washing or hands has become way more common, it's important to know that not all germs are bad; especially when it comes to young children.

"Having exposure to germs early on is protective and helps their developing immune system," said Dr. Abby Olulade with Sharp Rees-Steely. 

My niece Madison was just nine months old when the pandemic started and her sister, Lydia, was younger than two. After little to no social interaction over the last year they are finally enrolled in preschool.

Three days later and they are already home sick. It's a situation that's pretty common but has some people wondering if isolation could have impacted immune system development.

"It's a complex thing and we may see kids getting sick because they were getting sick anyway," said Dr. Olulade.

Dr. Olulade said the good news is that young kids strengthen their immune systems in many different ways such as breast milk and even interacting with the world around them.

While she said it's simply too soon to tell the effects of more than a year of distancing from others, parents can rest assured that it was the right choice at the right time.

"When it comes to the risk of COVID, those far outweigh this possible protection they were going to get," Dr. Olulade said.

As the kids get ready to go to camp or back to school, parents are encouraged to stick to the basics when it comes to keeping them healthy.

"Making sure they have a healthy diet trying to watch their stress levels."

Dr. Olulade said the more concerning byproduct of the pandemic is the sheer number of kids not getting vaccinated for other sicknesses during the pandemic such as measles and chickenpox. She encourages everyone to get those shots.

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