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Raising 'bubble babies': COVID-19 protocols are delaying kids from getting common colds, doctor says

Lockdowns and mask mandates are preventing more than just COVID-19. New habits are delaying kids from acquiring immunity to the stuff they normally catch at school.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Have you noticed your kids aren't getting sick lately?

It's probably due to the new protocols and measures we're taking to prevent catching COVID-19. By wearing a face covering, avoiding crowded areas, and washing your hands more than usual, you're preventing your family from getting the coronavirus while also protecting them from catching other viruses, one doctor says.

"It’s a sign that what we’re doing is working," said Dr. Kenneth Alexander, the Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando.

At the same time, we're only delaying the inevitable when it comes to children.

What To Expect, a well-known pregnancy and parenting brand says, "many healthy kids have eight to ten colds and other viral infections in the first two years of life (or six to eight colds in the first year), according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)."

However, now that parents are shielding their little ones from germs in ways we didn't do before the pandemic, the common cold is becoming a little less common, at least for now.

Dr. Alexander said kids will eventually be exposed to all the viruses they're missing out on getting for the time being.

"What we’re preventing in addition to COVID-19 is largely colds. You know, nothing terrible. Just sort of annoying. Will we see these things later as we crawl 'out of the bubble,' as you say? Yea, probably."

Doctors have already seen this sort of thing play out over the years by studying babies and toddlers who go to daycare versus those who stay at home.

Kids in daycare tend to get more sicknesses earlier on in life compared to those watched by their parents or someone in the home.

"Later when kids start school, the daycare kids don’t get as many colds as the kids who have stayed home," explained Dr. Alexander.

Bottom line -- it's now or later without any major consequence.

Just don't be surprised when things gradually get back to normal for your child to have that runny nose or keep-the-whole-house-up-at-night cough. Those viruses will find your child at some point.

Dr. Alexander also stresses the importance in vaccinating kids from other viruses like the measles or the flu, both of which are very dangerous to children.

RELATED: Pediatric infectious disease doctor urges school leaders to enforce vaccinations

"This is going to be an important year for flu vaccination because flu and COVID look the same," he said.

If your child got the flu vaccine, pediatricians will better be able to diagnose and treat your child without potentially waiting two weeks for COVID results.

RELATED: 'There's a lack of transparency': Pediatric doctors tracking COVID-19 cases say the state hasn't made the data they need easy to access

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