Coughing up for poorly parents: Mums and dads who catch colds from their offspring cost UK economy 17bn a year
15:45 GMT, 29 March 2012
Poorly parents who pick up a cough or cold from their children take a staggering 190 million sick days a year at a cost of 17 billion to the UK economy.
The figures are borne out of research by the charity Sightsavers who found that the majority of parents questioned said they had contracted an illness or other medical condition from their children.
The survey by nfpSynergy of 1000 people found that four out of five mums (79 per cent) had caught a cold from their child, half had contracted a cough and 13 per cent had developed an eye infection.
Keeping it in the family: Coughs and colds passed on from poorly youngsters to their parents are costing the UK economy 17 billion a year
It also found that mums were more likely than dads to pick up a medical condition from their sick child.
After common colds the top illnesses passed on were diahorrea (48 per cent) and vomiting 35 per cent, head lice 26 per cent, chickenpox 17 per cent, eye infections 12 per cent and dysentery 3 per cent.
Under the weather: UK parents are taking a staggering 190 billion sick days a year
The research comes after the charity launched a campaign earlier this month supported by TV presenter Lorraine Kelly to raise funds for its work to prevent and cure blindness in the developing world.
The advertising campaign features five-year-old Talla from the Gambia who suffers from trachoma, a potentially blinding eye infection.
It aims to highlight that illnesses spread from child to mother in developing countries don't just lead to sick days but loss of sight.
Lorraine said: 'Imagine if the illness you caught from your child was not only excruciatingly painful but could potentially blind you This is the tragic truth with trachoma.
'What really struck me when I visited Sightsavers' work in Kenya was how transforming a small amount of money can be.
'I met mums who were losing their sight and were struggling to support their families, however just 5 can pay for an operation to help treat the disease and save their sight.'