Summer is a perfect period for parents to prepare their children for the school year - to bring him to sea or a village, to feed him with fresh vegetables and fruits, and even to bring him to a doctor for a visit. Prevention of diseases is always better and cheaper than treatment. In the interview with Oksana Hryshchenko, chief of pediatric department of "Ohmatdet" national children's hospital, ForUm asked how to keep the child healthy during the school time.

- What diseases can the school regime provoke?

- School conditions are not always individual for every child, and teachers do not have a possibility to control every pupil. When parents prepare children for school they focus on sitting straight, holding the pen correctly, keeping hands on the table. But in a class with 30 children a teacher cannot control everyone and notice everything. Teacher's task is to teach his lesson. Obviously, the position children take to feel comfortable is not always correct and may effect their health. A right-handed child keeps the right hand on the table, but the left hand dangles under the table. The child may bow down too much and hold the pen too strong, which is a stress for the organism.

Making regular exercises may help. If our schools had better physical training classes, proper intervals and timely ventilation of class rooms, children would fall sick less. 

Proper ventilation of rooms reduces the risk of vegetative-vascular and cardiovascular diseases. Interchanging of intellectual and physical trainings is good for health, and children will not have to sit in the same position for half an hour - light exercises for legs, back and wrists for first-grade pupils and more serious exercises for older children. 

- I am sure you know about several fatal cases during physical training classes at school.  Now parents try to shield their kids from any kinds of sport. How to preserve the happy mean?

- Health condition of children must be regularly observed. Every age group has its risks. Small children often get cold or influenza, especially when they start studying in a group with others. But after some time they will get used to it and their organism will acquire infection immunity. Children who attend kindergarten have prepared immunity for the school. But those, who grow under close watch and with minimal contact with outside world will fall sick more often.

Older children who have growth spurts may suffer other diseases. The fact is that bones grow faster than muscles and vessels, and if a child is not trained or physically fit, his muscles will not hold the bony skeleton, which means the risk of postural disorder, lateral curvature, etc. At the same time, there is a risk of vegetative-vascular dystonia. The heart is suspended, and vessels are overloaded. During the period of active growth, children must undergo regular medical examination - cardiogram, heart ultrasound.

But there are must be some sport activity. Trained children will face the period of adolescence without any problems. However, if you child have some complaints it is better to draw in horns, slow down exercises and consult a doctor. If the child cannot do exercises, do not force him. He may not be able to meet school standards on physical training, but he must do at least therapeutic physical training and swimming. It is very good for health.

- What specialists should be consulted during summer period, even if a child seems healthy?

- Every year children must visit an ophthalmologist, ENT specialist, orthopedic surgeon. Older children should regularly consult an endocrinologist, girls should visit a gynaecologist and boys - a urologist. Every age group has its specialists to consult.

If parents are worried that their child is abnormally tired, they should consult a pediatrician. It may mean problems with hearth, vessels, liver.

- Teens often complain about headache. How can parents tell a real symptom from unwillingness to do homework?

- Well, parents and children should understand each other and communicate. Parents are always busy and may not notice how active their child is or what interests he has. Children may have a conflict with peers or a teacher, but they do not talk about it with parents fearing a punishment or misunderstanding. Friendly relations and contract between parents and children is very important, so that your child knows he can always count on you and talk to you regardless of problem.

Moreover, children may manifest symptoms of diseases because of the stress or fear. Psychosomatic illnesses are very common. If a child does not feel well, because of the stress of fear he may convince himself and parents that he has some disease. When summer holidays come the symptoms disappear, but in autumn the stress comes back and symptoms reappear. Thus, during summer period parents can consult a doctor and compare complaints and symptoms.

- Is computer impact on children that bad?

- For parents it is easier to give the child a game pad so he sits quite and does not bother them. But such approach is wrong. Child is not a small adult. He needs special norms of life. His mind, systems and organs are not ready for computer impact, thus game pad time must be limited.

Long hours in front of the computer involves overstrain, visual deterioration, headaches, vegetative-vascular disorders. Screen flashes may provoke convulsions.

Moreover, children do not have real understanding  of reality. Playing games or watching moves they may transfer the fantasy into the real world. But if in a game you have 10 lives to pass a level, the real life does not give you this opportunity. As a result, children do not understand the reality and may hurt someone, including themselves. On he other side, children do not understand the reality because there is no contact with adults who can explain things.

Modern teens spend too much time in front of a screen and have lost contacts with peers as well. They do play outdoor games, but sit all day long, risking to have obesity, early arthronosos, hypertensive diseases.

- What is the cause of children's obesity in Ukraine? Fast food is not that common here...

- Obesity of Ukrainian children can be link to potato couch lifestyle. Our Slavic approach - feeding above all - is wrong. Parents should pay more attention to the quality of food, not its quantity. Moreover, children should also drink a lot and drink in right time. Adults should focus on nutritious elements a body must receive, not on what there is in the fridge. In summer it is better to give children light food, like fruits, vegetables, lean meat. If a child does not want to finish his plate, do not force him. Child's organism knows what to do. Don't worry, when your child starts growing, he will eat everything and much.

- How can parents solve the problem of heavy bags, especially for first-grade pupils?

- If there is possibility to accompany and meet the child after the school, it is better to do so. In general, buy him a backpack to balance the load. Moreover, teachers must be involved into the problem as well. There can a stock of books for children to take in the class, not carrying from home, or other administrative solutions. But children should carry heavy bags, that is the fact.

- What about little snacks, like a sandwich with sausage, for pupils to eat at school?

- The quality of our sausage leaves much to be desired. Ideally, every school must provide full meal for pupils - breakfasts and lunch. Organized nutrition is the best variant. Children may take fruits or nuts from home, but nothing more. As for sweets, I speak against those Snickers and Twix, standard chocolate bars are better. And of course water. The perfect variant is when every class room has a cold water dispenser and disposable plastic glasses.

Tetyana Hryhoriyeva


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