Seasonal transitions, particularly when the weather turns cold and the air becomes drier, often coincide with an increased incidence of upper respiratory tract infections in children. It is not uncommon for children to experience this type of infection approximately 6 to 8 times a year.
Upper respiratory tract infections in children refer to acute infections affecting the upper respiratory tract, typically caused by pathogenic microorganisms.
These infections can be attributed to various factors:
Causes of Upper Respiratory Tract Infections:
Favorable Conditions Leading to Upper Respiratory Tract Infections:
- Exposure to cold temperatures
Furthermore, a weakened immune system in children can also contribute to an increased susceptibility to respiratory infections such as nasopharyngitis, tonsillitis, viral and bacterial adenitis, sinusitis, and otitis media.
- Weather changes, particularly during seasonal transitions, when cold weather and decreased humidity prevail, create an environment conducive to the spread of respiratory infections.
- Premature infants, low birth weight babies, malnourished children, those with compromised immune systems, and chronically ill infants who are not breastfed are at higher risk.
- Living in cramped and polluted environments with poor sanitation, exposure to smoke and tobacco, further increases the likelihood of respiratory infections.
- Infectious environments play a significant role, as children may inhale bacteria or viruses released by sick individuals through sneezing and runny noses. Additionally, handling contaminated objects and toys that harbor disease-causing microorganisms can contribute to the transmission of infections.
Common Symptoms of Upper Respiratory Tract Infections in Children:
- Fever, cough, and runny nose are frequently observed.
- Anorexia, vomiting, and digestive disorders may occur.
- Otitis media and sinusitis can lead to nighttime discomfort and crying.
Strategies for Preventing Upper Respiratory Tract Infections:
- Ensure children are adequately dressed and kept warm, paying attention to crucial areas like feet, hands, chest, neck, and head, particularly when going outdoors in the evenings or early mornings during cold weather.
- Initiate breastfeeding within the first few hours after birth and continue up to 2 years of age.
- Introduce solid foods at the appropriate time, ensuring a well-balanced nutritional intake.
- Encourage children to drink plenty of water, consume nutrient-rich foods, and increase their intake of green vegetables and fruits to strengthen their immune system.
- Adhere to recommended vaccination schedules to provide children with comprehensive protection.
- Maintain cleanliness and regularly cleanse the nose and throat of children with physiological saline solution.
- Avoid giving children excessively cold foods to prevent the onset of cold-related symptoms.
- Minimize exposure to cigarette smoke, dust, and pollutants. Ensure proper ventilation and cleanliness in the household environment.
- Limit visits to crowded places during epidemic seasons and encourage mask usage when in contact with sick individuals.
- Promptly recognize early symptoms of upper respiratory infections in children and seek medical advice accordingly.
In addition to these preventive measures, parents should focus on enhancing their child's resilience through proper nutrition. Including foods rich in lysine, essential micronutrients, and vitamins such as zinc, chromium, selenium, and B vitamins can support the immune system, strengthen resistance, and reduce the likelihood of illness and digestive issues in children.
By implementing these preventive strategies and maintaining a vigilant approach, parents can significantly reduce the occurrence of upper respiratory tract infections in children during seasonal transitions. It is crucial to prioritize the child's health and well-being through proactive measures and early medical intervention when necessary.