Healthy holidays

Healthy holidays

When children are brought to holiday resorts, certain rules must be kept in mind to protect them and avoid turning the holiday into a nightmare.
In addition to avoiding the risks of incorrect exposure to the sun, attention must be paid to nutrition in order not to incur intestinal infections. To enjoy the benefits that the sun has for health, it is necessary that the exposure takes place in a prudent way, respecting some basic rules and not underestimating the risks that incorrect exposure could entail. Here are some general tips valid for everyone at any age and in any place.

How to expose yourself

– Exposure to the sun must be gradual. In particular, the hot hours of the day should be avoided, from 11.30 to 16.30. In particular, children and infants should expose themselves to the sun in the early hours of the morning and in the late afternoon before sunset and always with adequate protection.

– Never expose yourself to the sun without applying sunscreen, even if the skin is already dark and tanned. In fact, sun creams not only protect the epidermis from the sun's rays, but guarantee correct and constant hydration of the skin.

– During sun exposure it is essential that the power supply is also adequate. In fact, since the sun deeply dehydrates the skin, it is good to drink a lot of water and eat foods rich in vitamins and minerals, in order to replenish those lost by sweating.

– In addition to the skin, it is good to protect the eyes and hair that are subjected to greater stress under the sun's rays.

The benefits of the sun

– The sun improves mood: light source, the sun has a positive effect on mood. The causes are physiological rather than psychological and the motivations have a scientific basis already proven for some time. The sun's rays, in fact, favor the activation of the neuroendocrine system and of the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid-adrenal axis which substantially affects an individual's malaise or well-being. This is why the beautiful season represents for many a moment of rebirth, renewal and desire to do. This is not only in a normal situation, but also in cases of more or less serious depressive diseases. In this regard, it is worth mentioning that in the Nordic countries, however rich and culturally evolved, the number of suicides is decidedly higher than in the Mediterranean countries.

– The sun is good for bones: the sun promotes the synthesis of vitamin D essential for promoting the absorption of calcium and its fixation in the bones. This is why it is essential that children (even very young ones) and teenagers spend as much time as possible in the sun, duly protected and, possibly, avoiding the hot hours of the day. To this end, "sunbathing" need not be excessively long. It takes just a few minutes a day for the process to start, at the sea, in the mountains, at the lake and even in the city.

– The sun against skin diseases: countless benefits that can be drawn from a correct sun exposure if you suffer from some skin diseases that are not too rare in children and teenagers. Among the most typical, acne (it is necessary, however, to moisturize the epidermis well before exposing itself to the sun to prevent the thickening of the skin that the sun's rays cause, may contribute to further obstructing the pores) and psoriasis. In the latter case, the sun proves to be a real cure-all that facilitates the remission of the pathology with the disappearance of the characteristic white scales that characterize it.

– The sun increases the immune system: the heat, in fact, facilitates the destruction of numerous bacteria harmful to health which, in this way, are unable to affect the body.

Intestinal infections

Diarrhea is a fairly common disorder among children during the summer season. Both because the heat increases the risk of the formation and proliferation of germs and bacteria in food and drink. Both because climate and food changes can cause changes in the intestinal flora with consequent discomfort for the intestine. Both because, in the summer, when it often happens to eat outside the home in a restaurant or bar, there is less control over the quality of the food ingested and their freshness.

Here, therefore, that, precisely for the reasons indicated above, intestinal infections (with the consequent diarrhea discharges from which they are usually accompanied) seem to be quite typical ailments of the summer season, as well as colds and flu are of that winter and spring allergies.

How to behave?
First of all, it is necessary to distinguish a form of acute diarrhea (with frequent discharges repeated throughout the day for no more than one or two weeks) and a chronic form (when the symptom has a longer duration). Acute diarrhea, a sign, in fact, of an intestinal infection, is not actually particularly dangerous, heals within a few days and, in principle, leaves no consequences.

The important thing, however, is that the child does not dehydrate (especially if the discharge is accompanied by vomiting) and that his body weight does not decrease excessively, through the administration of greater quantities of liquids and saline solutions. Only if the baby vomits making oral rehydration difficult, accompany him to the emergency room where he will be given rehydrating drips.

As regards nutrition, the child should be kept on a diet for a few days with foods low in fat and sugar and consideration should be given to the possibility of administering for a few days the intestinal flora rebalancing drugs.

If you need to breastfeed him

If the baby is very small and still breastfed, there should be no problems. Although, in fact, the child must get used to a different climate and temperatures that could be responsible for any problems affecting the intestine (the adaptation period for a newborn is 3/4 days), his feeding does not undergo, in these cases, changes, unless the mother completely disrupts her diet (which, especially in the first few months, would be avoided so as not to create problems for the baby by compromising her regular growth).

The situation changes, however, with artificially breastfed babies and already weaned babies. For the latter, the advice is to try, as far as possible, not to upset their eating habits, relying, if necessary, on ready-made homogenised products as an alternative to home-made baby food.

As for the preparation of the bottle, avoid changing the type of milk used normally (those who go abroad, especially in exotic locations, should try to have a sufficient supply of milk for the duration of the holiday so as not to run the risk of remaining without) and use only mineral water in closed bottles and, possibly, stored in a cool and dry place (plastic, in fact, subjected to high temperatures could release substances harmful to the health of the child).


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