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Children and cold: false myths about sport

“Don’t get cold that you get sick!”: this is one of the most common sentences mothers of different generations are repeating and repeating to their children.

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Children and cold: false myths about sport

How many mothers, grandmothers or dads are recommending their children not to get cold? Ear infections, tonsillitis and bronchitis, are often linked to the wrong sport.

The World Association for Infectious Diseases and Immunological Disorders (WAidid) has clarified some myths around sports activities, identifying many of them as false and difficult to eradicate.

Some recent studies show that making sport improves the body shape and reduces the occurrence of infections.

“The immune system has the task of defending the body from infectious agents and regulating the inflammatory process,” says Dr. Susanna Esposito, Ordinary Physician of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Parma and President WAidid.

So, she continues: “Through moderate physical activity, the lymphocyte response has a better defence against pathogens. In fact, with just one session of physical activity, the white blood cells are capable of generating and modifying the antibodies that recognize specific antigens neutralising pathogens”.

Don’t swim when it’s cold: first false myth

Swimming does not cause ear infections: it occurs in situations of bad hygiene or when the temperature change contribute in creating an ideal environment for bacteria.

Otitis is a disease that occurs very often, especially in childhood, often when child are cold. The reason is to be found in the anatomy of the ear: the Eustachian tube, which connects the throat and nose with the ears, is shorter than the one of the adults. Furthermore, subjects with a less efficient immune system are more likely to contract the disease.

Swimming helps to strengthen the immune defences as it increases the production of T Lymphocytes, which fight against viruses and infections.

If you sweat too much you get cold: a second false myth

Children who do outdoor sports have greater physical strength and reinforce the immune system. Colds, coughs and tonsillitis are not related to cold air, rather to the use of not proper clothing.

Walking barefoot causes infections: true

In this case, the trick makes sense: especially with children, where the immune system is not yet adequately developed, walking barefoot makes possible to contract fungi and contagious infections.

Especially in public places, such as showers and swimming pools.

It’s so recommended to pay extreme attention to the compliance to the hygienic standards: use slippers and personal towels, and dry the feet very well before dressing up is essential to reduce the risk of infection.

Dr. Esposito concludes: “From the physiopathological point of view, the practice of regular physical activity in the pediatric age represents an important form of prevention of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, of the obesity of metabolic diseases. The sport plays a fundamental role for the health of children, today and tomorrow ”.

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