It is a true fact. Cold and pain symptoms do increase at night time. That is unfortunate, because during the evening hours, the only medical assistance that is usually available is at expensive emergency rooms. Doctors and nurses are quite familiar with the sight of bleary-eyed parents trudging through the doors in the wee hours of the morning with pajama-clad children in tow, begging for some relief. Just last week, my son was sick for 48 hours. When the sun dropped in the sky and he felt the familiar filling up of his sinuses, he plaintively asked, “Why does it always get worse at night?” I told him that was a good question and that I would have to do some research. That research provided a variety of factors that contribute to this lunar phenomenon.
First, when the body is in a lying-down, or horizontal position, it is in opposition to gravity. The mucous and fluids that normally drain freely through sinus cavities, begin to pool and collect in the head and throat. This creates the “stuffed-up” feeling that children fight so hard against when they are sick. Another effect of lying down is that pain can increase because of spinal compression. This hampers blood flow which also contributes to swelling in the veins. This swelling can cause pain in the limbs.
Second, the body’s natural cycling of hormones contributes to a decrease of antibodies in the evening. Included with that is a decrease in the level of Cortisol. This is a vital hormone which is produced by the adrenal glands and drops to its lowest point anytime between midnight to 4 AM. Changed patterns of serum cortisol levels have been observed in connection with abnormal ACTH levels, which also contribute to illness and fever. It is more easily stated to say that the body’s natural defenses are weaker at night. Hence, the severity of symptoms increases.
One factor that aids healing is plenty of rest. However, if a child can’t sleep at night, they are not going to rest and neither are you. There are some suggestions to help weather the graveyard shifts of a child’s illness. It’s a good idea to keep the child in as much of a vertical position as possible. This can be accomplished by propping up pillows behind the back. It also helps to hold a child upright in your lap while you recline moderately in a chair.
Have your child drink plenty of fluids throughout the evening before bed to help thin the mucous. Sucking on a cough drop can decrease the urge to cough. Humidifiers will add moisture to the air, making it easier to breathe. A hot bath or steamy shower right before bed can also help to open the nasal passages. Hot cups of herbal tea with lemon and honey can soothe the child’s throat and nose. There are also several brands of over-the-counter pain relievers and decongestants that are formulated for children between the ages of 2 and 12.
As a last resort, if breathing becomes so labored in a child that their ribs protrude as they struggle to inhale, please go to an emergency room. Respiratory illnesses can be life-threatening to young children. Speaking from the experience of mothering six children, I have learned that whenever I ask the question, “do I go to the doctor or not?” it is better to be safe than sorry.
This article was written by DiAnna. DiAnna is a freelance writer. She provides articles for various websites on a regular basis.
DiAnna’s work is sponsored by websites like OPI Gelcolor and Solar Nails. Both of these represent salon manicures. The OPI Gelcolor manicure is new and uses UV technology to ensure that you get weeks of shine and perfection with your nails. The process is non damaging and is as easy 1, 2, 3.