“Yellow Friday” - Experts reveal 10th November as the day children are most likely to fall ill

Friday 10th November is the day that school-age children are most likely to fall ill and be absent from school in 2023 – a day that one company is calling “Yellow Friday.” The date was identified by a new equation, calculated using key criteria known to impact health and school absence.

The model is based on a number of variables, including the most common day of the week that children are absent from school, the level of potential for contact with sick people, time spent indoors, time since summer holidays, weather conditions and daylight hours, and is summarised in the following equation:

(D(S + Ti)) + ((Ts x Tc)/Ht) / (W + Dh + E)

  • D = Day of the week with most absence
  • S = Contact with sick people
  • Ti = Time spent indoors
  • Ts = Time since summer holidays
  • Tc = Time until Christmas holidays
  • Ht = Half-term holidays 
  • W = Weather conditions
  • Dh = Daylight hours
  • E = Exercise/activity level

The equation was developed by experts at ProVen Probiotics, who found that Friday is the day of the week with the most school absences and that the end of October signifies the start of flu season, shorter daylight hours and adverse weather conditions. Adding to this the amount of time that children are forced to spend indoors at this time of year, the time that has elapsed since the long summer break, and the time they have to wait until their next school holiday (and hence until their excitement about Christmas increases), November emerged as a bleak month for many children.

Working out how these variables might connect to build a model for potential absence levels led to one day emerging as the most likely day for absenteeism – Friday November 10th 2023. 

Adrienne Benjamin, nutritionist at ProVen comments, “We have undertaken two major research studies with children, which have shown that our Fit for School product helps to reduce absenteeism from school, and we wanted to see if we could identify a particular day that this absenteeism peaks to help parents (and children) to be prepared. 

Dr Ellie Cannon, comments, “Looking at the equation it’s no surprise to see that a day in November is top of the list of when children are most likely to fall ill. We all know that when the temperature drops and the days become shorter and darker, this is when people are most likely to develop cold and flu symptoms, and during winter months when my GP surgery bookings and visits are at their busiest, particularly with children.”

The positive message from this discovery, that ProVen wants to extend to parents, is that there are many things that can be done to support your children’s health and help to prevent sickness and school absence. A newly published clinical research paper from ProVen reveals that preschool and primary school-aged children who take a daily supplement of a multistrain probiotic, with low dose vitamin C, have a lower incidence of coughs and colds, resulting in fewer absent days from school, fewer GP visits, and a lower number of antibiotic prescriptions.

Dr Ellie Cannon, comments further, “It’s interesting to see ProVen Probiotics’ clinical study that shows the introduction of a probiotic with vitamin C can help reduce cough and cold symptoms in children – something I’m sure parents will be pleased to know ahead of the winter season, as it can be easily added to a child’s routine with other healthy habits, including drinking lots of fluids, eating nutritious foods, and keeping active.”

ProVen Probiotics is a research-focused probiotics manufacturer and has undertaken numerous clinical studies with children, investigating the impact of live probiotic bacteria on upper respiratory tract infection symptoms and duration, antibiotic prescriptions and absence from school. The brand was interested in understanding more about when sickness in children and school absenteeism peaks in the UK and when it might be most beneficial to start implementing prevention strategies, to help support reduced levels of sickness and absenteeism.

Top 10 tips to help prevent illness and keep the kids in school

  1. Feed them enough ‘good’ calories – include protein, fat and carbohydrate at every meal, and add lots of colourful fruit and veg for vitamins and minerals (hiding them in smoothies and sauces can be a useful tactic!)
  2. Adequate water intake is vital as even mild dehydration can lead to tiredness, lack of energy, low mood and an inability to concentrate – and avoid fizzy drinks as they can increase blood sugar spikes and dehydration.
  3. Make sure every meal and snack is balanced (protein, fats and carbs) to release energy slowly and support sustained energy throughout the day requires foods that release energy slowly. Sugary foods and snacks lead to rapid ups and downs in energy levels.
  4. Include lots of healthy fat to support brain power and cell health – think real butter, nuts, seeds, oily fish, avocados and eggs.
  5. Focus on sleep and know how much is recommended for your child’s age-group. 5-8-year-olds need around 10-12 hours per night, 9-12-year-olds need 9-12 hours and teenagers need 8-10 hours per night.
  6. Get outside every day whatever the weather and preferably before it gets dark. Going to the park straight from school can be a great release for younger children and encouraging older children to walk to and from school can help.
  7. Teach your children techniques to help manage stress from an early age – ideas include yoga, meditation, deep breathing, playing and lots of laughter wherever possible.
  8. Daily exercise is crucial for children of all ages – ideas include dancing around the house, jumping on a trampoline, going for a run, walking the dog, lifting some weights or playing some football.
  9. Develop strategies to encourage children to spend time away from electronic gadgets and screens. This can be particularly difficult for teens and compiling a list of other things to do (and doing them with your children) can help.
  10. Support gut health through a healthy diet, hydration, sleep, stress management, exercise and supplementation where required.

ProVen Probiotics is available from nationwide Holland & Barrett stores.

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