The onset of monsoon and rains bring a host of health and safety woes, especially for kids. There are many diseases just like Dengue, Malaria, Cholera, Typhoid, Viral fever, Diarrhea, Common cold and flu that can affect especially the smaller kids. But monsoons need not be so nerve wracking when it comes to the health and safety of children, for a few simple measures can easily ensure that your child not only enjoys the monsoons but stays healthy too.
Before talking about the preventive tips to keep your child healthy, let us look at some of the common diseases that your child may encounter during the rainy season.
Common diseases in monsoon are as follows:
Common cold, cough and viral fever: Common cold occurs due to viruses that thrive in humid conditions. It presents with symptoms such as fever, cough, cold, runny nose and severe body pain. These infections require symptomatic treatment with paracetamol or other fever reliving medications. Taking warm fluids helps.
The children prone to allergies and those having asthma usually experience increase in the symptoms of cough, breathless or wheezing. Make sure to consult your doctor for preventive antiallergic medications.
Gastroenteritis: Contamination of food or water is the commonest cause of gastroenteritis. The symptoms include fever, vomiting, loose stools and refusal of feeds. Most of these diseases are viral induced and are self-limited and need supportive treatment in the form of replacement of water and salts orally and medications to stop vomiting. Only for severe disease, intravenous fluids and antibiotics may be required. Seek immediate medical attention if the child feels lethargic, not able to take fluids or having repeated vomiting or not passing frequent urine.
Dengue: These pose a major health threat. Both diseases have similar symptoms. Dengue starts with headache, chills, low backache. Extreme pain in the joints and legs occur during the onset of the disease. Usually mild cases can be treated as outpatients with oral medications. Severe cases need immediate hospitalisation and aggressive treatment. There is no preventive drug or vaccine currently available for these ailments. The danger signs in Dengue is when child is lethargic, not able to eat or drink, passing less urine, severe stomach pain, constant headache, or bleed from gums, nose or in urine or stools.
Malaria: Breeding mosquitoes cause malaria. Attacks of severe fever with shivering are common. Fever occurs at regular intervals. So, do not ignore any symptoms of malaria and consult your doctor immediately if you feel any sign of the disease. Shut doors and windows during morning and evening time to keep mosquitoes out.
Typhoid: This is a highly communicable disease, which is mostly spread via contaminated food and water. Prolonged fever coupled with headache, diarrhoea and abdominal pain followed by a rash may indicate typhoid. Children should consume a lot of fluids to prevent dehydration. Getting vaccination for typhoid can be of great help.
Jaundice: Viral infection of liver is very common during rainy season. This disease spreads through contaminated water and causes yellow urine and yellow eyes.
Skin problems: During monsoons, skin infections are likely to increase. Breakouts and bacterial infections are aggravated by wet clothes. Fungal infections occur commonly in the areas such as armpits, groin and between toes.
How to manage or prevent:
Use Water-Resistant Rain Gear: The weather is predictably unpredictable. You never know when it is going to rain. Reduce the chances of your kids getting wet and falling sick by ensuring that they never leave the house without an umbrella or raincoat. Invest in waterproof shoes or rubber shoes. They provide traction and protect your children’s feet and ankles from getting wet. Also, they are easier to dry off.
Follow a Healthy Diet: Ensure your child takes a healthy balanced diet containing a good amount of fresh fruit and vegetables which are generally rich in Vitamin A, E, C, and B – Complex, antioxidants and minerals that provide a lot of protective and nutritional value to the body.
Avoid raw foods like salads wherever possible and wash the fruits and vegetables thoroughly. Avoid eating street-side food, especially uncooked foods.
Make drinking a daily bowl of hot vegetable soup or herbal tea mandatory for your entire family along with plenty of fluids especially water. A well-hydrated body is better equipped to resist the cold and flu. Ensure that both you and your children drink clean, boiled or filtered water to your hearts’ content this rainy season.
Shower After Getting Wet in the Rain: Diseases develop when the body experiences a sudden and extreme drop in temperature, which generally occurs when you get soaked in rain water. Taking a shower after getting wet in the rain, helps the body by stabilising the cold temperature and helps to wash away germs sticking on to the skin.
Clean Hands: Dirty hands are the primary route that the germs, viruses and bacteria take to enter and harm your child’s immune system. Rain water causes outdoor things to get rusty, which is a breeding ground for bacteria. Because children like to touch everything; and moreover, because hands are used for almost every activity, it is important that your children wash their hands before touching any food.
While it is alright to let children play in the rain, do not allow them play in or near puddles and water-logged areas which are essentially stagnant water reserves. Stagnant water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes, parasites and other germs. It is the main cause of potent water-borne diseases such as Malaria and Dengue. Using mosquito repellents and wearing clothing that protects from mosquito bites is important.
- Protect your child from mosquitoes by using nets, repellents, etc.
- Discourage children from playing in dirty water.
- Cover your mouth with a handkerchief while coughing or sneezing.
- Give your children plenty of fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables.
- Let your children swim only in the pools that are cleaned properly as these carry a good source of infection.
- Ensure that your neighbourhood is kept as clean as possible.
Take very good care of your little one during the rainy season. It is their business to be on autopilot into every puddle – and it is your task to see they remain safe while they enjoy the glorious weather!