The recent weather changes, with rains splashing most parts of the country, might have brought us relief from the scorching heat of summers, but it also increases the risk of contracting illness. Bacterial and viral infections are on the rise and kids often become the easy victims.
Stomach infections, cold, cough, sore throat, allergies, and fever are the most common ailments that haunt kids during weather change. Extra nourishment and care is needed to keep them in good shape.
Here are a few things that can help safeguard your little ones from seasonal illnesses:
1. Keep them hydrated
Water helps flush out toxins. All fluids – water, juices and soups, are a great way to combat seasonal illnesses. If your kid is down with seasonal flu, and beyond the age of 6 months, taking water at regular intervals will help fight common cold and reduce throat inflammation. To avoid dehydration during Diarrhoea, ensure frequent fluid intake for your child. Until the age of 6 months, mother’s feed is the best protection.
2. Maintain hygiene
Washing hands with soap and water or using a sanitizer before and after consuming food is a habit that you as a parent have to ensure that your kid maintains. Teaching your kids basics like covering her/his mouth while coughing or sneezing and ensuring clean nails are hygiene tips that cannot be ignored. If you have a toddler to take care of, make sure that all her/his toys are disinfected as frequently as possible. Also, avoid unhygienic food joints during seasonal change and emphasize on home-cooked food.
3. Avoiding mosquito bites
The current weather conditions provide a safe haven for mosquitos. To prevent your kid from mosquito-borne diseases like dengue and malaria, use mosquito repellents and nets. Please keep in mind the following precautions:
- Do not apply mosquito repellent on your child’s hands because they are likely to put their hands in their mouths
- Do not directly apply repellent/spray onto the skin of your child. Apply/spray first on your hand and then rub on your child. Avoid applying around their eyes and mouths.
- It is advisable to avoid insect repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, or IR353 on children less than 2 months old. On children older than 3 years, repellents that contain oil of lemon eucalyptus can be used.
4. Using natural preventive measures
It is best to prep your child’s body against increased chances of infection by using natural preventive measures. Elements like tulsi (basil leaves), adrak (ginger), shehed (honey), haldi (turmeric), citrus fruits, soup, and milk helps improve your kid’s immunity and wards off infections. Let’s take a look at what these elements do –
- Tulsi: Basil leaves, popularly known as ‘tulsi’ in India, have immune-modulatory, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-allergic, and anti-inflammatory properties that help improve immunity and fight against various infections and allergies
- Adrak & Shehed: Together, ginger and honey soothe sore throat, and help fight bacterial and viral infections
- Haldi: Haldi or turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties and boosts immunity. Adding haldi to milk, dal, and curries is a good habit
- Citrus Fruits: Citrus fruits like oranges and lemons are good sources of Vitamin C that help prevent flu. Including lemon juice (nimbu paani) in your kid’s daily routine is a trick that will keep diseases at bay and at the same time, keep your kid happy
- Soup: Tomato and chicken soup are known to provide warmth, reduce inflammation, and fight infections. They’re also useful if your kid is fussy about drinking water. The ideal time to feed soup to children is 1.5 to 2 hours before dinner
- Milk: Milk is a great source of calcium and protein which are both essential elements for overall development of a child and boosting her/his immunity. If your kid is fussy about drinking milk, try preparing a milkshake by adding ripe fruits instead of sugar and you’ll be good to go
5. Minimize exposure and dress them appropriately
Try keeping your kid indoor as much as possible during changing weather. Minimize exposure especially when there is a flu outbreak at your child’s school. If keeping your kid indoor isn’t an option, dress them up appropriately especially when they are likely to be outdoor for a longer period.
Adapting to these precautions might appear tedious, but it’s vital.
If you wish to monitor your child’s vital health parameters regularly, including – weight and temperature - besides of course keeping track of the child’s immunization schedule - it is much easier to do this now than ever before. Make sure that your child is added as your ‘Family’ member on the Healnt app. Tap on the child’s name, and switch to profile. Now you can maintain all the Personal Health Records (PHR) for your child. You can similarly maintain the PHR for every other member of your family, or have them maintain their own Healnt registrations and records.