Children get sick – it is a fact of life. It is also these childhood illnesses that provide them the antibodies they need to be healthy in adulthood. Unless children are exposed to germs, they cannot build up a healthy tolerance for them.
But what about children who are born with chronic health conditions – like cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, diabetes, gastrointestinal illnesses, asthma, or developmental disorders? Can these health concerns be prevented? And if not, what do those parents do?
Can I Prevent My Child from Getting Health Problems?
While many conditions cannot be avoided, there are steps that parents can take to help a baby to be born as healthy as possible – including early and comprehensive prenatal nutrition and care. These include:
- Green leafy vegetables
- Lean meats
- Healthy fats (fish, nuts)
- Folic acid (a type of vitamin B-9)
- Folate (a type of vitamin B-9)
If a child is indeed born with – or develops – a chronic health condition, it is important to instill healthy habits at an early age. This includes incorporating physical exercise into the daily life of the child who has a chronic illness.
Your child’s pediatrician will be able to explain proper exercises and optimum nutritional considerations to keep the child as happy and healthy as possible. Just because a child has a chronic health problem doesn’t mean they cannot have a normal adulthood. Be sure to model a positive attitude.
Family Management with a Chronic Health Condition
Regular medical care for these children often takes a central role in the daily life of a child with a chronic condition. Be aware that the other children in the family may feel like they have been shoved to the back burner, so continue to let them know that they are an equally important part of the family.
It is ideal to explain to your other children about the real problems facing their sibling. It will help them understand why their sibling is always getting so much attention. Get them involved in helping you care for their sibling; let them help you prepare or clean around the house. Doing so will help the other kids feel empowered and not slighted.
Parents with sick children who have a chronic illness should educate the other siblings about their sibling’s specific illness and what is happening to the child’s body. Explain that the illness will affect the family in ways which cannot always be foreseen, as the illness may develop at its own pace.
Pediatric Clinic in Northern Massachusetts
There are some chronic illnesses that no parent or doctor can cure, so the family must learn how to deal with it gracefully and with love. If you have a child who was born with a chronic illness, we can show you how to make the most of it and enjoy life as a family.
If you are here in northern Massachusetts, contact us today at Children’s Health Care by calling our location nearest you, whether in Newburyport at (978) 465-7121 or Haverhill at (978) 373-6557. You can also request an appointment online now with the best pediatricians in Massachusetts – we have your child’s best interests at heart.