The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health crisis. As such, it has posed a menace to people’s overall health and well-being. Think of the rising COVID-19 cases and reported deaths and consider the mental health issues that have arisen during this pandemic.
But for the most part, we pay particular attention to the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. They are the most vulnerable amid the COVID-19 crisis. But that is not to say that we can disregard our children. The truth is, the pandemic has also affected the young ones psychologically.
In fact, the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital conducted a National Poll on Children’s Health amid the COVID-19 crisis. The survey revealed the top health concerns for children identified by most parents. That said, here are the top kids’ health concerns you must address during this pandemic.
1. Excessive Internet Consumption
It’s easy to see kids get hooked online using their mobile phones during this pandemic. They spend most of their time browsing the web, checking social media, and playing online games. The problem starts if and when they have too much internet consumption. Apparently, this can escalate to a sedentary lifestyle, which can be detrimental to their health. Hence, the best course of action is to regulate their screen time and encourage them to have physical activities, family bonding, and other worthwhile pursuits.
2. Unhealthy Eating
Nothing can be more concerning than children skipping meals or eating unhealthy foods. Unfortunately, some parents have faced financial constraints and food insecurity during this pandemic. As such, they have struggled to put food on the table. If not, they have to contend with processed foods and canned goods. But as a parent, you must ensure proper nutrition at home. That said, opt for healthy foods such as whole fruits, green leafy vegetables, legumes, and lean meat.
3. Lack of Physical Activities
Another serious health concern is the lack of physical activities during this pandemic. At the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, authorities have implemented lockdowns and stay-at-home orders. As a result, the pandemic restrictions have led families to stay indoors. As a result, most children have ended up with minimal physical activities. Know, however, that there are ways you can encourage your kids to be physically active at home.
That said, resort to home exercises, do household chores, pursue home improvement projects, and engage in indoor sports. It’s good that the pandemic restrictions have now become lighter, and fully vaccinated people can now go outdoors.
4. Mental Health Issues
The COVID-19 crisis hasn’t only posed a threat to physical health but mental health as well. In fact, it has led to an increase in negative emotions among children, such as stress, psychological distress, anxiety, and depression. It can even escalate to suicide if left unattended. The home isolation and lack of social interaction can take a toll on their emotional and psychological well-being. As such, constant communication is the key. As a parent, check on your children, help them understand the pandemic situation, and help them process their emotions.
5. Smoking, Drinking Alcohol and Using Drugs
It’s crucial to check on your children during this pandemic, especially teens. If not, they might resort to excessive smoking, drinking alcohol, and even using prohibited drugs to cope with the pandemic. As parents, we most likely pay attention to young children. However, teens can be particularly vulnerable amid the COVID-19 crisis. While you teach them to practice self-care, make sure to always be there for them. That way, they won’t resort to substance use and abuse.
6. COVID-19 Infection
In the wake of the pandemic, we cannot proceed without mentioning COVID-19 as a top health concern among children. Still, the best course of action is to implement health and safety protocols in place. These measures include cleaning and disinfecting, frequent hand washing, and hand sanitizing. When going outdoors, be sure to wear a mask, maintain social distancing, and avoid crowded places. If your kids start to show COVID-19 symptoms, rush them to a children’s clinic such as the Corpus Christi Pediatric Center for a health check. Get them tested and treated immediately!
At this point, we’ve tackled the top health concerns for children during this pandemic. As such, be wary of those mentioned above, from excessive internet consumption to mental health issues to the COVID-19 itself. As a parent, do what it takes to promote your kids’ overall health and well-being. Be sure to seek professional help if you must. In the end, take good care of your children so that your whole family can rise above this pandemic situation!