A new epoch in a child’s life opens with the first day at school. An adjustment must be made, physiologically and emotionally, to a new set of circumstances. Flexibility is expected of the young, although some constitutions and temperaments adjust more readily than others.
Fortunately, most young children continue to live at home while attending school. This is important, as a totally new environment might cause a feeling of anxiety and insecurity.
School hours for the lower grades vary in different localities. In some rural districts they are too long from a health standpoint. Children need plenty of play time out of doors and no amount of air conditioning, inside illumination or gymnasium exercises can take its place.
Recess periods should be intelligently and carefully supervised and healthful activities encouraged. Delicate and timid children must be protected from ridicule and injury at the hands of those of the bullying type. Any pronounced tendency to form cliques or gangs should be discouraged by proper direction and diversion of interest and not by suppressive measures. Recreational facilities and sports have much to do with the problem of emotional adjustment.
The school age child needs sympathetic guidance and understanding. Threats to children are of no avail. Parents and teachers should see to it that their word can always be depended upon. Treat the child as though he were the reasonable human being which he really is. Let him feel the dignity of cooperation and never the degradation of compulsion.
A major health hazard for young children is the varying programs for immunization which to a greater or less degree are compulsory in many parts of the country. Formerly, vaccination against smallpox was the one and only immunizing risk and that was incurred any time prior to entering school. Now, infants and children of pre-school age are subjected to an ever-increasing number and variety of “shots,” vaccinations and inoculations. If this trend continues, the term “human pin-cushion” will become ever more painfully true. Where there is no legal requirement the force of advertising propaganda amounts to practically the same thing.
Reactions to these inoculations and immunizations range all the way from nothing observable to death itself. Meanwhile all that is required of the public is faith and cooperation.
When the sale of anti-histamine tablets “went right up to tens of millions of dollars” (TIME Apr. 3., 50, page 78) on prophylactic and therapeutic grounds so utterly flimsy and chimerical, no one but a moron would be qualified to trust the advertised word of the interested parties on any health matter whatsoever.
When a child has never been well since vaccination or inoculation homoeopathic treatment offers the best hope of restoring health. Consult the rubric VACCINATION in the Generalities section of the Repertory. Often the remedy will be found outside of this rather narrow list. All of the nosodes should be considered as well as the serpent poisons and the leading polychrests. Arsenicum, Kali phos., Lachesis, Phosphorus, Silicea, Sulphur and Thuja are especially related to chronic following artificial immunization.
Next comes the problem of colds and the various infectious diseases. Epidemics of one kind or another often run through a school or community. Sometimes an entire section of the country is affected. The majority of infections of an epidemic nature occur during the cooler months of the year, especially those affecting the respiratory tract. Thus colds and the exanthemata, which often begin with symptoms resembling a cold, are most prevalent during the school term.
The greater the difference between in-door and out-door temperature, the worse are conditions apt to be for the respiratory tract. Adequate humidity in the home, the school and all public buildings should be a matter of prime consideration in all new construction. Unless means are provided for automatically adding sufficient moisture to the air during the heating season, the low in-door humidity will have a drying and irritating effect upon mucous membranes and will predispose to inflammatory conditions of the respiratory tract. The skin will also become irritated in such an atmosphere and its function impaired.
Sudden chilling, especially when over-heated as after active exercise is frequently the immediate cause of a severe cold, bronchitis or pneumonia. Children must be repeatedly cautioned and protected in so far as possible against such chilling.