“Why does my child fall sick so often?” is a question I am often asked by parents who are struggling with children who are always falling sick. No sooner have they recovered from one bout of infection – they are down with the next.
These parents are their wits ends trying to figure out what to do because they have been to almost every possible doctor. The doctors they have been to have done every test possible. And every kind of medicine, traditional remedy and alternative therapy has been tried on these kids.
It is exasperating to say the least for these parents because there is no treatment that can be started for these children because there is nothing really wrong with them. It is just that they fall sick more frequently than other children.
But why? Why do these children fall sick parents ask me – when others like them go months and years being hale and hearty and never falling sick.
Is there an explanation? Yes there is.
Most of these children who fall sick frequently without any apparent reason – are under tremendous stress.
Can stress really make children sick? Yes it can.
And is it possible that children are so stressed? Yes it is.
Children nowadays are tremendously stressed. They are stressed about academics, they are stressed about extra-curricular activities, they are stressed because of peer pressure, they are stressed because of peer pressure – they are stressed about just everything.
Stress compromises the immune system. And this is how it happens.
When a person is stressed – the hormone cortisol comes into circulation. Cortisol tells the body that there is danger. Either fight it or run away from it.
So the body is constantly in an alert state. It is distracted by the presence of danger – and is constantly ready to either fight the danger or run away from it. In this distracted state the body forgets to do its usual task of manufacturing immune cells and substances that are required to protect it.
When the periods of stress are short-lived the effect on the immune system are not as pronounced. But when the stress goes on and on and becomes a regular feature of life – the deficit of immune substances keep building and eventually there are too few immune substances and cells to keep the body safe from infection
This results in the child falling sick over and over again.
Stress in children is real and its role in causing disease in children is real too.
If you have a child who falls sick frequently – make an effort to reduce his stress. It will definitely improve his health.