Childhood illnesses

How Summer Affects Children's Health

How Summer Affects Children's Health

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When summer arrives, the high temperatures rise and with this heat diseases also appear in children typical of this season: gastroenteritis, pharyngotonsillitis, conjunctivitis ... How does summer affect the health of children?

During the summer, children are more vulnerable to infections or other pathologies, since there is a change of environment and diet. Together with all this, it must be said that at this time of year the growth and reproduction of viruses and bacteria is greater, since they love high temperatures, which is why it has been seen that during the summer children are more susceptible to the following diseases.

1. Gastroenteritis
It is a gastrointestinal condition most frequently caused by viruses, but during the summer time the growth of bacteria such as salmonella can cause mild to severe gastroenteritis. This is due to high temperatures, which often break the cold chain and food can easily be damaged and favor the growth of microorganisms (especially dairy).

Symptoms are constant or colicky abdominal pain, vomiting of food content, frequent liquid stools, profuse bloating, and usually fever. It is very important to keep children hydrated and consult the pediatrician, who will make the respective indications. Of course, never suspend breastfeeding if it is received, unless the oral route is omitted.

2. Pharyngotonsillitis
It is an inflammatory process of the pharynx and tonsils, almost always of viral origin, after pictures of flu or colds. In the summer season, it is more frequent for it to be due to bacteria and in this case the bacteria involved is streptococcus, causing great discomfort in children, fever, decay, strong irritation and pain in the pharynx.

When examining the child, we can almost always observe plaques of pus at the level of the tonsils that are characteristic of this disease. The treatment of bacterial pharyngotonsillitis should be with the use of antibiotics and antipyretic analgesics, which should be indicated by the pediatrician.

3. External otitis
They are also called pool otitis and it is an inflammation of the external auditory canal that can reach the tympanic membrane, caused by contaminated water from swimming pools and on the occasion of beach water, which is deposited in the external canal and facilitates the growth of bacteria (pseudomonas) and fungi, producing an important infectious process if it is not treated on time and preventive measures are taken to avoid relapses.

The child will manifest, above all, a severe earache, which increases in intensity when touching or tripping the ear and is constant. There may also be a headache, rarely fever, and passage of a clear or purulent fluid through the duct.

The treatment must be indicated by the pediatrician, who will indicate antibiotics, analgesics, but most importantly prevention to avoid relapses or later more severe otitis.

Preventive measures are more than all the use of silicone plugs or drops of glycerin before diving into the water, wearing a hat that covers the ears, avoiding head dives, staying under water for a long time. And, something very important, to maintain the ears with good hygiene, drying them well when leaving the water, but without the use of cotton swabs, so as not to injure the canal or push the earwax and form true wax plugs that can produce up to the decreased hearing acuity (hearing loss).

4. Conjunctivitis

The conjunctiva is the membrane that lines the front of the eye and the inner part of the eyelids and can become inflamed by various causes: dust, smoke, chlorine from swimming pools, salt and sand from the beach, pollen, animal hair and microorganisms of the environment.

The eye is very irritated (red), inflamed, with or without purulent exudate (legañas) and tearing. The child reports a foreign body sensation and does not tolerate sunlight (photophobia). The treatment should be indicated by the pediatrician, who will make a referral to the ophthalmologist according to the severity of the case and may recommend the use of sunglasses with sunscreen.

5. Molluscum Contagiosum
They are highly contagious skin lesions, especially through swimming pool water by another contaminated child or direct contact or self-infection by scratching the lesions. It is produced by a virus of the poxvirus family and is characterized by small balls or pearls of 2 to 5 mm, more frequent in the armpit, chest, back and buttocks and are pruritic (they itch a lot), so they can be infected through scratching.

It should be taken to consult with your pediatrician or pediatric dermatologist to indicate the appropriate treatment and I suggest increasing the intake of citrus fruits to boost the immune system.

6. Heat stroke and skin burns
Due to prolonged exposure to the sun on beaches or swimming pools and the lack of use of sunscreen, the skin can become irritated, red and even blistered due to second-degree burns, although first-degree burns are the most frequent.

The child may feel dizzy, with headaches and stomach aches. In these cases, the most important thing is prevention: do not expose yourself to the sun without sun protection and apply it every 2 hours, avoid the sun in the strongest hours (11 am to 4 pm), drink plenty of water and wear light clothing.

7. Dehydration tables
During the summer season, the inclement sun, high temperatures, greater exposure to the sun and the practice of outdoor sports generate a greater loss of fluids than usual, often producing dehydration symptoms that warrant consultation with the pediatrician. who will take the appropriate measures to rehydrate the child.

As in all cases, prevention is the most important and consists of drinking more fluids than usual (preferably water) throughout the day and avoiding heat stroke, frequently staying indoors.

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