Why do children get sick more in winter? Which disease is most common?
With the arrival of autumn, the weather starts to cool. Viral upper respiratory tract diseases are the most common diseases in this season. The most common infectious disease in children is the common cold. It accounts for about half of the patients seen by a pediatrician in the outpatient clinic. More than 200 viruses, especially rhinoviruses, cause colds. Because these viruses multiply in the cold, we become more sick in cold weather.
The infection occurs with sneezing or coughing virus droplets that spread into the air and infected hands. Causes such as being closed in kindergartens, classrooms, poor ventilation of the environment, public transportation, sick children, low hand-washing habits and common toys increase the transmission of diseases in winter.
Children have a common cold about 3-6 times a year. Especially those who go to daycare, daycare and those between 3 and 6 months can be sick even 8-10 times. This corresponds to twice a month in a winter season. Malnutrition children are more often ill. After 6-7 years of age, the frequency of the disease gradually decreases as the child grows. In adults, we spend 2-3 times a year on average. The reason why the number of diseases gradually decreases is that we pass on diseases and develop immunity to most viruses.
The incubation period of the common cold is short. Symptoms begin to appear 1-2 days after the child is exposed to the virus. The average lasts 5-7 days. Not too high fever, weakness, sneezing, restlessness, initially transparent, then darkened nose discharge. Appetite decreases due to secretion accumulated behind the nose.
Should we use antibiotics? What medications should we use?
No. Virus infections beats the immune system of our bodies. Whether we use antibiotics or not, we cannot accelerate the healing of the disease. During this period, we reduce the complaints of the child and give him medication to relieve. Like flu medications, painkillers, nasal drops. These drugs have no therapeutic properties. If the body's immune system works well, we will heal faster. In the meantime, the child must rest at home and take plenty of fluids. However, the disease does not improve in its natural course, very high fever, cough with phlegm, dark yellow and green slime color, ear pain, such as complaints occur in your pediatrician, if necessary, may add antibiotics.
What should parents do to strengthen the immune system of pre-winter children against winter diseases?
They should apply the principles of healthy living that we should all know and follow. Most important is adequate and balanced nutrition. Regular sleep, keeping the child away from smoking environments, regular exercise, giving vitamin D supplements in the winter keeps your child's immune system strong.
What foods should be given weight to strengthen the immune system?
- Children must have their breakfast at home.
- They should eat vegetables and fruits every day.
- To get vitamins A, C and E, fruits such as carrot, broccoli, zucchini, brussels sprouts, green pepper, cauliflower, parsley, spinach, arugula, cress and citrus fruits, pomegranate, apple, pear, apricot, kiwi must be consumed. Dark green, dark purple colored fruits and vegetables should be preferred as much as possible.
- Fermented dairy products which are rich in probiotics such as kefir, yoghurt and cheese should be preferred instead of milk.
- Two times a week should be careful to consume fish rich in omega 3.
- Although not possible in urban life, your food should be grown under natural conditions and protected from chemical pollution. Eggs and meat of chicken fed with natural feed, veal fed with natural food, small fish unaffected by heavy metals, vegetables and fruits grown without drugs and hormones in natural environment should be preferred.
- Food should be eaten at home, so you are less likely to eat fast food and empty calorie meals outside.
- Obesity weakens the immune system. Make sure your child is not overweight.
- Do not use unnecessary medication and especially antibiotics.
- Do not use simple sugars, especially when your child is sick. Because red blood cells (our immune cells that fight microbes) paralyze up to 8 hours. So we let the microbes multiply.
Honey? How much?
Children over 1 year of age should be given regular honey to increase immunity. In the studies, honey and honey products strengthen the immune system, give energy to children, help kill germs, increase the body's zinc, copper, magnesium levels, increase weight gain and appetite, support growth, reduce allergies, reduce bowel probiotics, improve diarrhea . In addition, honey alleviates dry cough during colds. 1 gram per kilogram at breakfast should be given regularly. (One tablespoon is about 10 grams.) Never, even in very small amounts of crazy honey should not be used. There are fatal side effects on the heart. Honey is not used in children under 1 year of age because of the risk of botulism.
Is herbal tea given to children to strengthen the immune system?
Herbal teas have no place in baby and child nutrition. In our opinion, by filling her stomachs with herbal tea, we reduce their appetite and the nutrients they need to grow. We do not know the safe dosage ranges in children, so we can harm instead of benefit. For example, the common use of linden has a diuretic effect. This could leave the child's body dehydrated.
Is food supplement, vitamin supplement necessary?
There is no consensus on this issue. As a rule, vitamins or food supplements are unnecessary in a healthy and balanced child. However, mothers often think that their children lack vitamin or immune systems. With the advancement of modern medicine, substances have been found that make our immune system more workable. They are sold under the name of dietary supplement and some examples are:
Pro-prebiotics can be used to strengthen our immunity. Useful intestinal microbes in our intestines are probiotics. The substances that increase them are prebiotics. Probiotics in a healthy intestinal flora strengthen the immune system, synthesize vitamins, prevent the passage of harmful substances from the intestine into the blood, prevent food allergies and eczema.
Beta glucan is obtained from bread yeast. It activates the immune system cells and strengthens the immune response.
Lactoferrin is a protein produced in our body and abundant in breast milk, which has an important function in our immune system and plays an important role in our protection from infections.
Zinc activates our immune system. It has proven efficacy against viral infections. The deficiency is one of the common minerals. It has also been proven to promote growth in children.