- Living with children does not carry with it a greater risk of contracting Covid-19, according to a study in the U.K.
- Living with children appears to lower the risk of dying from Covid-19.
- The study looked at 9 million adults in the U.K. under the age of 65.
If you live with children, you’re not at a greater risk of contracting Covid-19, according to a large study carried out in the U.K.
In fact, living with children was associated with a lower risk of dying from the coronavirus compared to those that didn’t live with children, researchers from the University of Oxford and London’s School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found.
They investigated 9 million adults in the U.K. under the age of 65 between February and August to see whether the risk of infection with Covid-19, and the risk of severe outcomes from having the virus, was different for those living with and without children.
The researchers found that living with children under the age of 11 “was not associated with increased risks of recorded Covid-19 infection, Covid-19 related hospital or ICU (intensive care unit) admission but was associated with reduced risk of Covid-19 death.”
However, living with children aged 12-18 years was associated with a small increased risk of recorded coronavirus infection, the study noted, but not associated with other Covid-19 outcomes.
Living with children of any age was associated with a lower risk of dying from non-Covid-19 causes, the researchers found.
The study also looked at an additional 2.5 million adults above the age of 65 and also found that “there was no association between living with children and outcomes related to Covid-19.”
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Researchers highlighted that parents are known to have lower all-cause mortality than individuals without children, noting that the “protective mechanisms of having children are likely to be multifactorial, including healthier behaviours among parents, e.g. in relation to smoking and alcohol, and self-selection of healthier individuals becoming parents.”
They also said “beneficial changes in immune function from exposure to young children have been proposed to cause reduced mortality among parents.”
Wrangling over schools
The study comes amid ongoing uncertainty over the role of children and adolescents in the transmission of the coronavirus. But the researchers in this study noted that there was “accruing evidence” that suggests that, when it comes to Covid-19, “lower susceptibility and possibly lower infectiousness among children means that they may not transmit infection more than adults.”
There has been heated debate over whether schools and colleges should remain open during national lockdowns, with millions of kids having to stay at home when governments first locked down their economies
A recent story in The Washington Post reported on the more than 700 women who’d tested positive for the novel coronavirus and given birth at the BYL Nair Charity Hospital in Mumbai, India. The hospital is a part of a group called PregCovid, which collects data regarding pregnancy and COVID-19.
Here in the United States, health departments reporting cases of COVID-19 during pregnancy to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can provide additional information to help us understand its effects during this critical period in a woman’s – and her child’s – life. Yet despite the growing pool of data about the coronavirus, our understanding of the effects of COVID-19 on pregnant women remains limited, which is troubling given that many states are struggling with the pandemic and the high stakes involved for mothers.
While researchers continue to collect and interpret available data, it is important that pregnant women be especially vigilant to protect themselves and their babies, including by – at minimum – taking basic precautions such as practicing social distancing and wearing masks.
As an infectious disease physician who recently gave birth to my new daughter, being pregnant during the coronavirus pandemic posed significant challenges both physically and intellectually. In my field, we practice evidence-based medicine, but with the novel coronavirus, we continue to learn more each day and to update our recommendations based on new information. For now, the evidence indicates that the best tools to help contain the spread of COVID-19 are social distancing and mask-wearing.
As states have opened up and restrictions have been relaxed, however, people may believe that the risks posed by the coronavirus are diminished and go about their lives without taking these precautions. Doing so may be particularly dangerous for pregnant women: Data published in a CDC report just this week found that expectant mothers with symptomatic COVID-19 were more likely than other infected women to end up in the ICU, to require invasive ventilation and to die.
In addition, the coronavirus may cause poor pregnancy outcomes such as preterm birth. While the CDC may update its information as more becomes available, these possibilities are concerning.
Meanwhile, one of the growing hopes to prevent the coronavirus’ spread is a vaccine. Yet the release of one may not be a panacea for pregnant women, who have been excluded from clinical trials. Given this, it will take some time before we understand if these vaccines are safe for mothers and their babies, so pregnant women may be advised against getting a vaccine should one otherwise become available.
Expectant mothers who previously had COVID-19 also aren’t necessarily in the clear, as the current science is still evolving regarding immunity from COVID-19 once a person has recovered from the disease. Though rare, there have been cases of people reportedly becoming reinfected, and even a recent reported case of someone who died after reinfection.
Given the potential risk associated with the virus, some health care professionals have separated moms from their newborns
From wearing a mask to regularly washing your hands, there are several things you can do to reduce your risk of coronavirus.
Now, one expert has claimed that extra toothbrushing could also help to protect you from Covid-19.
Professor Martin Addy, a dentistry professor at the University of Bristol, has called for toothbrushing to be promoted alongside hand washing.
Speaking to The Telegraph, he explained: “Toothpaste contains the same detergents as those found in handwash gels recommended.
“The antimicrobial action of toothpaste in the mouth persists for three to five hours and, thereby, would reduce the viral load in saliva or infection by viruses entering the mouth.”
Professor Addy advises that people should brush their teeth every time they leave the house.
He added: “For the vast majority, the timing of tooth brushing should be focused when they are about to go out of their homes for exercise or shopping.
“Ideally, tooth brushing frequency should be increased.”
This isn’t the first time that Professor Addy has promoted the idea of extra toothbrushing to reduce your risk of Covid-19.
In a previous letter to the British Dental Journal, Professor Addy said he was surprised the dental profession had not been promoting teeth brushing as a preventative approach to coronavirus.
He added that the recommended oral hygiene practice of brushing twice a day for two minutes should be reinforced.
Mr Addy said many of those who are not doing this are some of the most vulnerable to Covid-19, such as elderly people in nursing homes who rely on carers to brush their teeth.