Wind and children: because you can go out without fear (apart from a few exceptions)

Wind and children: because you can go out without fear (apart from a few exceptions)
Fonte: Brian Scantlebury / Alamy / IPA

In this article

  • the effect of wind on children's health
  • the wind does not make you sick
  • wind and allergies
  • wind and pollution
  • wind and headache
  • wind and babies
  • the wind makes you nervous
  • wind and holidays

Wind and children's health, what effect is there? When the first windy days of spring arrive, many parents wonder.

Some, for example, are convinced that the wind is really bad, and can cause disease - cold, otitis, bronchitis primarily - headache or a general sense of discomfort. But what's true? We have tried to clarify, with the help of several pediatricians and some scientific studies.

No, the wind does not make you sick

In general, the wind, however annoying, deserves full absolution from the accusation of causing disease. "Colds, otitis, bronchitis, conjunctivitis: they are all infectious diseases caused by viruses and bacteria. contagion it usually occurs through the particles emitted with saliva - talking, sneezing or coughing - by someone who is already sick "he says Franco Dessì, family pediatrician in Narbolia, in the province of Oristano, referent of the cultural association of pediatricians for Sardinia, a region where the wind does not joke.

The risk of getting sick, therefore, is much higher for those staying in a closed and crowded environment, where it is easier to come into contact with pathogenic microbes possibly emitted by other people. It's true: as some worried mothers say, the wind can carry germs, but actually in an open and windy environment the risk of coming into contact with these viruses and bacteria is lower. "Both because they are less concentrated at the start - explains Dessì - and because the wind tends to further disperse them".

Read also: Winter and children: why they have to be outdoors even if it is cold and the weather is not nice

Dessì, however, has no illusions: "There will always be parents convinced that the wind makes their children sick, and ready to swear that every time they go out when the wind blows they return home with some infection. The truth is that for diseases like this. frequent as the respiratory infections of children the causes could be many other, but you end up blaming the wind because you are used to thinking that it hurts ".

Read also: Recurring infections, when the child is always sick

As for otitis - how many times have we heard "it's windy, cover your ears otherwise you'll get sick" - we asked for an opinion from Marchisio, head of the high-intensity care pediatric department of the Polyclinic of our city for more than thirty years expert on this topic and among the coordinators of Del Paesene guidelines on acute otitis media of the Paesena Society of pediatrician. Her judgment is clear: "Ithe wind has nothing to do with it, and this is confirmed by various studies carried out on the subject. No one has ever highlighted that there is a relationship between wind and the onset of this infection ".

One of the latest studies on this was published in 2022 in the "International Journal of Biometeorology" by a group of scholars from the Center for Medical Bioclimatology of the University of our city. The researchers analyzed the frequency of accesses for otitis in the emergency rooms of the province of Cuneo compared to some meteorological variables (temperature, windiness, humidity, pressure) and the concentration in the atmosphere of different polluting substances. Result: as already known, the only correlations found concern the low temperature (in fact, otitis is more common in the winter months) and the concentrations of nitrogen dioxide, a polluting gas that forms as a result of combustion. In short, the risk increases in winter and in polluted areas, while the wind does not have any.

"More than the wind, one should seriously worry about the cigarette smoke, which is a well recognized and important risk factor for otitis, but still too often neglected "warns Marchisio with emphasis. Referring not only to first or second hand smoking, but also to third hand: these are cigarette combustion residues that are deposited everywhere around the smoker (on clothes, surfaces, etc.) and which are as dangerous for children as exposure to second-hand smoke.

Read also: The danger of secondhand smoke

Beware of allergies

One of the few cases where wind can have a direct negative effect on children's health is if they suffer from pollen allergies. "Clearly, on a windy day the pollens tend to circulate more and it is easier to inhale them", emphasizes Dessì. "That's why during pollen season and in areas that are rich in pollen, allergic children would do better to avoid going out on particularly windy days."

Also read: 5 tips to reduce exposure to pollen

Wind and pollution, a complex relationship

On the other hand, the relationship between wind and pollution is more problematic. Again, the wind carries the polluting particles, but this can have a double effect. "On the one hand pushes them away, cleaning the air and making it more breathable, "he explains Laura Reali, family pediatrician in the city, member of the cultural association of pediatricians and co-author of the book Pollution and health of the child (Scientific Thought, of the city 2022). On the other hand, however, if it blows in particular directions from particularly polluted environments it can also bring them closer ".

The pediatrician gives the example of the Tamburi district of Taranto, right next to the Ilva. "When intense winds blow, the movement of the air raises the dust of the mineral park of the steel mill, leading them to disperse in the city. In these cases - often also reported by municipal ordinances for the closure of kindergartens and schools in the neighborhood - it is better to stay in home".

But beware: Reali points out that these extreme measures apply to extreme pollution situations. "If we think instead of our large cities, albeit heavily polluted, the underlying problem is there'pollution in itself, not the fact that there is wind or not. "As if to say: the air remains bad, whether it moves or not. And according to Reali, in these circumstances it is however, it is better to go out than to remain plugged in the house, where pollution levels can be even higher.

Is it bad for babies?

What if we are talking about very young children? If the baby is just born or is only a few months old, can we take him out anyway, when the wind blows? "In general, if we talk about 'normal' situations, there are no contraindications" reassures Laura Reali. "You can safely go out, also because outdoor walks do a lot of good for mum and little one".

"Of course, if a wind blows at 200 km per hour, it is better for that day to stay indoors, and the same is true in very particular conditions of pollution, as we have seen in general".

La dust blown up by the wind however, it is not the best for the baby's eyes and delicate skin. "To avoid problems, that's enough repair it properly, and a newborn in a wheelchair or in a sling in general has no problems "says Dessì. Rather, she recommends that you keep an eye on that the baby does not take too cold. "The little ones under one month of age do not yet thermoregulate by themselves, so if they go out in a cold or cool environment they must be kept well covered".

Wind and headache

It is one of the worries of mothers, who tend not to let their children out when there is wind, in the belief that it can cause a headache. "Of course it can happen, but only if we are talking about children who already suffer from migraines," he explains Massimiliano Valeriani, head of the Headache Center of the Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital in the city.

"In itself, the wind does not cause a headache, but it can be one of many possible triggering factors in migraine children"The expert specifies. We remind you that migraine is a disease with an important genetic component, on which various types of triggering factors can act, from stress to irregularities in the sleep-wake rhythm, from weather conditions (including, in fact, , the wind) to food.

In this case, it is best to avoid exposing the child to the wind if possible. However, this cannot always be done, for example if you live in a particularly windy area. "In these cases we try to intervene with drugs, not only for therapy but also for prevention. Certainly, however, there is no reason to keep the child at home, in the worry that he may get a headache , if it is not a migraine subject "concludes the expert.

Does the wind make you nervous?

It is common experience that the wind can be annoying and make you restless, nervous and irritable. That said, a lot depends on the type of wind, by intensity and frequency with which it blows: one thing is a breeze it just messes our hair a little while we walk on a pier, at sunset, hand in hand with our partner, another thing is a strong wind that blows continuously for days, without leaving respite. Or, again, a burst at 200 kilometers per hour, capable of making the tiles fly down the street (in this case it is obvious that it is better not to go out!). Not to mention that there is also one individual sensitivity to the phenomenon: there are those who really can't stand it, those who tolerate it without particular problems and someone maybe even appreciates it a little.

In short, there is no precise rule: "Many people are certainly bothered by the wind, but I think this is especially true for adults" says pediatrician Dessì. Children are often so engrossed in their games and activities that they don't pay much attention to the weather. And even for them the wind could turn into an extra opportunity to play. "Of course, if family members are particularly bothered by his presence, in the long run they could transmit this aversion to children too" concludes the pediatrician.

Wind and holidays

of the city, Sardinia, perhaps a beautiful Greek island: in view of the summer in many families the desire for the sea is starting to be felt, but if there is a trip to an island planned, a little wind is to be in account, that is the Sardinian mistral or the Greek meltemi. How, then, to do with children? Could it be a problem for them that the island is windy?

As we have said, the wind itself does not cause health problems for children. Sure, some may be bothered by it, but it depends a lot from child to child. "My advice is to fpay attention to the child's requests and his preferences "says Laura Reali. If he's a little explorer who loves being outdoors in any weather condition, he probably won't have any problems.

It is also a question of not conditioning them: if you spend your holiday unhappy because there is the wind and worried that it will hurt, in the long run even the children will be annoyed. Conversely, if the wind is an opportunity to play and have fun together, perhaps chasing a kite on the beach, it will only be a great joy for the little ones.

And as always, a little common sense is needed: "In the first place - underlines the pediatrician - if the child is very young I would avoid poorly equipped islands, regardless of the wind. And in general, more than that during a beach holiday I would worry about the sun. This can cause harm to children if taken without proper precautions. "

  • wind and health
  • cold
  • 3-5 children years
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