Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) can be difficult for children to live with. That’s why it is important for parents and guardians to learn about JIA and how to help. We’ve rounded up a few tips for how to best support a child with JIA.
Learn: Learn about the condition and treatment, and find a health care provider who specializes in treating JIA. Usually, that is a pediatric rheumatologist. Physical therapists can help with pain management.
Prepare: Have cold packs and heat treatments, like a heating pad, at the ready for joint pain and stiff muscles. Sometimes your child may need a splint (a piece of hard material, usually wrapped in fabric) to help reduce pain and swelling. Make sure to talk to your child’s health care provider before using a splint.
Educate: Work with your child’s school and school health care provider to educate them on your child’s needs and how to best support them if they are experiencing pain.
Find balance: Find a good balance with rest and exercise for your child. Sometimes they may need more rest or more activity. Generally, short rest breaks are better than long periods in bed.
Support health: It’s important that your child has a balanced diet full of whole grains, lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. Children also need a good night’s sleep, which can range from nine to 13 hours depending on their age.
Stay positive: Keep a positive mindset and help your child understand that they are supported. Help answer any questions they have about JIA, and if you can’t answer them, check with a health care provider.