The health of our children and adolescents is under threat from a wide range of risks. These include unhealthy diets and lifestyles, stressors in the environment, injury and violence, inequality, and migration. Additionally, millions of children are experiencing mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. These issues have a lasting impact on their physical and emotional well-being, leading to poor outcomes such as substance use, suicide, or homelessness. But despite these ongoing challenges, children are often overlooked when it comes to their own well-being.
The very future of children is in doubt and urgent action is needed to safeguard their survival, health, and well-being. In the US, a large number of kids (including children from low-income households) lack adequate access to medical care. These kids are at greater risk of missing, delaying, or skipping preventive visits due to a variety of reasons including financial hardship, high costs of medical services, a parent’s inability to take time off work or get childcare, fear of pain or disease, and even language barriers. And while children’s survival, nutrition, and education have improved dramatically over the past decades, there is still much to do to ensure that all children can enjoy a healthy life.
One of the most common health risks for young children is respiratory infection. Symptoms can include fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, and fatigue. Many diseases can be spread easily, so good handwashing is an important part of infection control. This includes teaching your child to wash their hands before eating, after using the toilet and after playing with animals or dirty objects. Vaccinations also help protect your child against diseases such as measles and diphtheria.
Eating well is also important for a growing child’s immune system. Ensure that your children are eating foods from all food groups, and that they get enough protein and calcium. Encourage them to drink lots of water and other fluids, including juice.
As part of this commitment, Exceptional Explorers has dedicated itself to research on mental health in children and youth. Their programs focus on the behaviors that can improve children’s health, including eating well and getting enough sleep. And they emphasize teaching children and their caregivers how to wash their hands properly and when to do so, so they can stay healthy and prevent illnesses.