CHILDREN'S CORNER with PANCI CHILUFYA
THE second term of the school calendar begins next week; a period that always coincides with the onset of the cold season. And judging by the biting weather the country has been experiencing from last week, the cold season will be
pretty harsh and everyone should be ready for it.
To confirm this, Zambia Meteorological Department acting director Joseph Kanyanga also urged Zambians to brace themselves for severe winter that will be characterised by heavy rains and later transition to winter. And when the weather is very bad, it is usually young people and the elderly who are most affected.
This is a timely warning to parents, guardians and school authorities to ensure that children are warmly dressed at all times. It is important for parents to make sure that when children leave home, they are adequately and properly dressed to minimise or avoid complications associated with the cold weather which can result into serious health consequences.
It is with the hope that school authorities will also exercise compassion for children who are unable to afford the approved uniforms including jerseys and footwear-related during this time. This is because when schools open, it is not strange to see children, some very young walking to school with threadbare uniforms; while others cannot even afford a jersey. By the time such a cold and shivering child gets to class, the child is unable to pay attention because of having been exposed to the biting weather.
The cold weather not only affects the ability for the child to pay attention in class but it also diminishes the immune response because there is less blood supply to preserve body heat. Due to the reduced blood flow, there are fewer white blood cells to fend off any disease, this then results in a child being susceptible to winter illnesses like the cold, flu or sore throats. The cold is the most prevalent of human diseases; this is because it infects adults 2-5 times while for children, the rate is double and it could go up to twelve times in a year depending on circumstances.
There is no actual cure for the cold, flu or sore throat; patients are usually advised to take a lot of liquids, fruits and rest. Any remedies that are administered only help to alleviate symptoms until the immune system kicks in to get rid of the infection. In fact, when a child or a person has a cold, it is the immune system itself that causes the symptoms as it fights the virus that causes the infection.
It is therefore of the essence that parents, guardians and school authorities are proactive during the cold season to ensure that children are as warm as possible because as the saying goes; prevention is certainly better than cure for everyone’s sake. That way, cases of absenteeism will be minimised and the time adults will spend having to nurse their sick children.
Remember, children are our future, until next week, take care.
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