Clearly, there are countless differences between adults and children. Regarding the human immune system, infants and children are not miniature adults. Their immune system handles infectious diseases differently than those of older people. Experts in kids care must consider that fact when treating sick children. For example, according to the National Library of Medicine, young children catch colds six to eight times a year, far more often than adults. In this blog post, we’ll learn more about how a child’s immune systems differ from an adult’s.

There are Two Types of Immune Systems

Two types of immune systems exist, innate and adaptive. Children, especially after they grow past age two, have a predominately innate immune system. When a disease enters a child’s body, the innate immune system attacks it immediately. If all goes well, their immune system eventually conquers the disease, destroying it. At the same time, the child’s body develops antibodies trained to attack the same or similar conditions when they infect the child. Thus, a child starts to develop an adaptive immune system that predominates in adults.

Vaccines are Built to Boost Immune Systems

Kids care experts have developed several vaccines that train children’s bodies to fight specific diseases without having to be infected. Almost every parent is aware of the schedule of vaccines, such as the ones for polio, measles, and so on. Experienced kids care doctors will often give these vaccines to children so that they don’t have to worry about these diseases. The time when polio might put a child into a wheelchair is long since passed. Once, several childhood diseases such as chicken pox, mumps, and measles were illnesses that several children had to go through. Thanks to vaccines, the very concept of several childhood diseases has become a thing of the past.

Children’s Immune Systems Can Fight Off Viruses

Ironically, because a child’s immune system is more innate than adaptive, children tend to be less susceptible to the COVID-19 virus. The reason for this more robust response to the virus seems to be, according to some scientists, the ability of the innate immune response system to handle the disease right out of the gate. An adaptive immune system takes time to develop the antibodies that eventually kill the COVID-19 virus. While the body adapts, the virus attacks the respiratory system and other parts of the body. A race develops between the body’s ability to generate antibodies against the COVID-19 virus and the virus killing the infected person. Thankfully, even before COVID vaccines became available, most infected people won that race. But not all of them. And the damage, known as long COVID, can last a long time.

Clearly, a child’s immune system differs greatly from an adult’s. For any other questions you may have regarding vaccines, healthcare, or kids care, reach out to Pediatrix today.