Sick Child? How Walks Outside Help Child Recover

    Sick Child

    Most adults want to hear specific instructions from the child’s doctor – exactly what they can and what they can’t do for their sick child’s quick recovery, and accordingly when and in what amounts. But unfortunately there are no universal recommendations. But not weather, not health, not grandmother’s readiness for self-sacrifice are the main factors determining the recommendations but an adopted system of education and parenting from infancy.

    What am I talking about? On the human body there are two major reflexogenic zones – ears and feet. If socks and hats were and are mandatory conditions for a child’s lifestyle, cold exposure on these areas will quickly cause colds. That is, if the child runs barefoot (at least in the apartment) from the early childhood, and, being 3 years old, he gets into a November puddle – there is absolutely nothing dangerous for his health. But this puddle can be a real threat if the child was wearing socks and hats all the time from an early age.

    Maybe, having read the previous paragraph, you will regret that it’s already too late. But it is still necessary to go for a walk. Therefore, here are some recommendations.

    Hypothermia and overheating are the main danger of walks. These both appear easier in children than in adults -this is the feature of a growing body (imperfection of the thermoregulation system and a rapid depletion of energy reserves). Behavior of the child is the main criterion. Neither hypothermia, nor overheating don’t occur suddenly (the child is walking, walking, and suddendly he is cold). If the child has no complains, he is not thirsty (the first sign of overheating) – don’t worry and walk quietly. If the weather conditions are not good, you should always accompany your child while walking – at least because you can always watch your own feelings.

    A few words about colds

    Cold is a disease that appears as a result of hypothermia. Almost 100% of people have a microbe on their glands in the throat called Staphylococcus aureus. The immune system constantly restrains reproductions of this microbe, and one peacefully coexists with staphylococcus for many years. Under the influence of hypothermia defenses weaken, the microbe begins to multiply quickly and it causes disease.

    And what’s next? The microbe multiplies, the body produces protective antibodies and the disease is healed. What happens if you are cold again after a short period time? Staphylococcus starts multiplying but the antibodies, developed the last time, are still preserved, so the illness either will not appear or will be much easier. This is the essence of hardening – to consciously activate our own microbes, so that the immunity is eventually at such a high level that the cold cannot cause disease.

    Therefore, if the slightest hypothermia causes cold in your child, don’t keep him at home in any case, after his temperature is normal and the symptoms of the disease disappear.

    In most cases, disease and walks are not compatible for the following reasons. First, the body temperature is high, cold air causes spasm of skin vessels, reduces heat loss and increases the temperature of the internal organs that is not desirable (it is forbidden to walk if the temperature is higher than 37.5C). Second, physical activity and maintenance of body temperature require significant energy, and the energy is more necessary to fight the disease.

    Thus, there are rare situations where it is forbidden to walk than the situations where it is necessary to walk.

    It is forbidden to walk when the infectious diseases are acute – high temperature, weakness, and pain. It is forbidden to walk if one has some pretty rare diseases and a strict bed rest is required (diphtheria for example). It is forbidden to walk, when a disease is contagious but not always (if the child is the son of a forester, the measles is good for walks in the woods, but if this is the daughter of an engineer, it is wrong to walk along the streets and infect other children).

    Fresh air promotes healing and this factor is especially important for the respiratory tract diseases (pneumonia, bronchitis, tracheitis, laryngitis). But of course, it is important to consider many factors. For example, a child has pneumonia. Parents begun to treat it, the temperature is normal, health is improved. Obviously, walks are necessary but carefully – it is more important not to move but to breathe the air free from house dust. So it is necessary to wear warm clothes and to avoid running and jumping. If there are difficulties, it is better to breathe on the balcony.

    Remember! When the cool (cold) air is inhaled, the moisture is condensed on the hot airways and this leads to the hydration of mucus. If, during the walk, wet cough (that was not at home) appeared in the child, it is a very positive sign, indicating that the child has got a chance to get rid of mucus accumulated in the lungs. But the actions of relatives are often opposite – if the child starts coughing outdoors, he is immediately taken home.

    And what is happening in this case: the mucus is humidified, therefore, its volume is increased, and if to stop walking the child will have difficulties breathing and parents will make a “logical” conclusion – the child got worse after the walk. So it is necessary, either to keep on walking, or not to start it at all.

    For many diseases associated with an increased formation of mucus in the airways (whooping cough, croup, obstructive bronchitis) cool air is more important factor in treatment than all the drugs. But another thing is even more important: the cool air is effective emergency assistance for any health problem characterized by a complaint “it is difficult to breathe.” Go quickly outside or on the balcony while waiting for the doctor.

    Summary. Any action towards the Nature is good for health because walks activate our natural mechanisms of adaptation. It is difficult to move to the Nature (ground without asphalt, the sky overhead, wind, water, grass, and so on) because one has to wave good-bye to the amenities of civilization (native sofa, favorite TV, warm toilet, and so on). Fear, workload and laziness are the source of all arguments against walks (with very few exceptions described above).

    So, go for a walk whatever happens!

    I also recommend you to learn about the main rules of walks with newborn babies, how to encourage kids’ health and how to dress them properly for walks.

    Dear parents, tell us how do your walks after or during the child’s illness look like? Share your stories and recommendations, ask questions!


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