It’s that time of year again, winter, when the sheer number of things to accomplish often overwhelms the system. The “system” might be anything from the number of people in line at the grocery store to the number of sick children at the pediatrician’s office. Take a deep breath and
Remember to hold something in reserve.
In the 1950’s when Ward and June Cleaver made it look easy to parent Walley and Beaver, I’m sure the challenges they faced when one of the boys was sick shared some fundamental similarities with the ones we, as parents face today. I dread when my children are sick. They say it’s because I’m a good doctor and a lousy nurse, and there may be some truth to that!
Who has the time and energy (and Jello and chicken noodle soup on standby) for the unexpected sick child? Life for working parents is amazingly full for most of us. Who has the patience and perseverance to keep up the reminders over and over (and over) again: “wear your coat”, “wash your hands” and “eat your vegetables”?
It is well documented in the pediatric research literature that all those (heat or cold stress, poor nutrition, inadequate sleep) are things that stress the immune system. And when our immune system is stressed, there is a significant increase the risk of contracting infection.
So, take a minute, just one…to think about what you actively do to keep your family healthy. Celebrate those little things that give way to success when the definition of success is a healthier child. Try to hold a little something in reserve for those times when the unexpected illness strikes. The average child has eight infections a year, and being able to manage the unexpected creates even more success to celebrate.
Reviewed by Gayle Schrier Smith, MD and her Partners in Pediatrics