Why Children Often Fall Sick When They Travel To the Countryside

Easter is at hand and it is not uncommon that many city parents choose, for a change, to travel down to the countryside to check on everyone down there, even as the Celebration of Jesus’ resurrection is underway. People are used to enjoying the holiday this way – with family. In fact it is less of adventure than it is culture.

A few days prior to the holiday, arrangements are done anticipating the long expedition to the village, many kilometers away.

However, the problem is not as much with the trip as it is with the children who always get sick whenever they go to the village.

Consulting with Dr. Bukalu Emma at Zziwa Medical Center, Bweyogerere, he advised that there are many ailments that can afflict the body of the little ones ranging from car fatigue, colds, malaria, to hygiene related infections.

In the first place, the change of environment is the first turn off for the kids and this tends to be more psychological than physical. New environments are often challenging to fit in, and this holds back the children from being as active as they should be. They end up exhibiting pseudo signs of sickness.

However, children’s sickness is also common and it depends on a wide range of factors such as the skin type, the foods, the age, the hygiene, among others.

For instance, kids have a propensity to become sick when they go to the village, because of food poisoning. Food poisoning is an illness caused by eating contaminated food. It is not usually serious and some kids get better within a few days even without any serious treatment.

Food poisoning can be detected when the kid feels sick (nausea). Other signs are vomiting, diarrhea which may contain blood or mucus, stomach cramps (abdominal pain), lack of energy and weakness, loss of appetite, a high temperature (fever), aching muscles, and chills.

In most cases, these symptoms will pass in a few days and the kid will make full recovery. The child should rest and drink fluids to prevent dehydration.

Enough rest is also recommended and small amounts of light and non-fatty meals should be administered at first. In case of diarrhea, Oral Rehydration Solutions [ORS] are recommended as well.

However, when the child’s symptoms are severe, such as being unable to keep down any fluids because of vomiting repeatedly, a rapid heartbeat, sunken eyes, it is advised that you take the child to the medical personnel.

Some kids fall sick because of allergies. When the kids change environment, they tend to interact with substances that will make them exhibit with sickness symptoms.

An allergy is an overreaction of the immune system to a substance that is harmless to a child’s body. These substances are called allergens and might include dust, plants like peanuts, cockroaches, pets, molds [fungi that thrive both indoors and outside, in warm moist environments]. In fact allergies are a common cause of illness in children.

Some kids are allergic to certain foods that they might only find in the village. The common ones are roasted beef, peanuts or tree nuts. Other allergens are insect stings, where kids’ skins become swollen and itchy. Kids sometimes are allergic to some chemicals and antibiotics.

The type and severity of allergy symptoms vary from allergy to allergy and child to child. However they might show up as itchy eyes, itchy nose, coughing, sneezing, nasal congestion, throat tightness, troubled breathing, vomiting and even faintness or passing out.

Severe allergic reactions can be fatal if not treated in time.

However, when kids develop a rash on the skin, it is more usually because a change has affected the skin. It is generally a minor problem or it is part of an illness that will go away soon. These rashes over the whole body are normally caused by viruses if the child has a cold, cough or diarrhea.

When kids go to new places and interact with the other kids, they tend to pick up infections from each other. Such as coughs, flu and even skin diseases.

Generally when kids change to harsher environmental situations, they quickly react to change and this change is more apparent in their bodies. For instance, they are more likely to catch malaria because of an over infestation of mosquitoes.


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