Monsoon is in full swing. And recently I told you about Big list of activities to keep kids busy indoors. It is the season that kids love but mommies dread, thanks to the maladies that monsoon brings along with it. From eye infections and tummy troubles to flu and fever, the list is endless.
So, here’s the low-down on monsoon care that will help you rev up your family’s hygiene quotient and keep them healthy this season…
A for Ailments
Malaria, Diarrhoea, Dengue, Chikungunya, Typhoid, Jaundice and Leptospirosis are some of the most common ailments associated with the rainy season. The first step towards preventing these diseases is maintaining a healthy hygiene, about which you’ll read ahead.
Also read: 20 Home remedies of cold, congestion
B for Bath basics
Bathing with an anti-bacterial soap at least once a day is extremely crucial as we sweat a lot in the humid weather.Add a few drops of neem oil in your child’s bathing water as it is natural cleanser.
C for Contagious diseases
Keep your kids away from people suffering from communicable diseases. Cover your mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing. Avoid crowded places, where the baby can catch infection. Scabies and athelete’s foot are other common contagious diseases that spread through contact with infected person/ surface.
D for Dressing-up Right
Avoid synthetic fabric and go for light fitting cotton clothes. Keep a light jacket and leggings handy for the colder days. Go for open-toed, monsoon friendly footwear, which is anti-skid, waterproof and has a good grip on the foot.
E for Eat healthy
During monsoons, digestive system tends to go weak. Hence, avoid spicy, oily and rich meals and serve light and nutritious meals to kids. Eat a healthy and well-cooked diet. Avoid foods like soyabean, pulses like kidney beans and channa during monsoons as they gaseous and hard on digestive system. Avoid fish and prawns as it is their breeding season and it may lead to stomach infection. “Use turmeric as it keeps infections at bay. Honey keeps your intestine sterile and aids digestion. A few leaves of neem, which is high in antioxidants can be added in drinking water for 20 minutes. A fresh hot soup made at home in dinner shall ensure optimum health,” suggests Khyati Rupani, Founder & Chief Dietitian at Balanceutrition.in.
F for Fever
Humid weather is the breeding ground for viruses. Hence, mild to severe fever that run from anywhere between 3-7 days are common with symptoms like cold, cough, loose motions etc. While most of such fevers are self-limiting, however, if high fever lasts beyond 24 hours, contact doctor. Apart from fever reducing medicines, don’t forget to give plenty of fluids and adequate rest.
G for Garbage Treatment
Don’t let your garbage can overflow as it can attract rodents and germs in your kitchen. Keep your trash can covered and try to discard the garbage every day.
H for Hygiene
Encourage your kids to wash hands with antiseptic soap before and after every meal. Warm shower after getting drenched in rain is recommended. Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water before consumption as they are prone to larvae, worms, dust and bacteria. Avoid eating raw veggies, steaming / blanching them is a better option. Green leafy vegetables should be soaked in salt water for at least 10 minutes before cooking to remove insects and dirt. Keep your shelves, crockery, chopping boards and dust clothes clean as they can act as breeding grounds for germs. Clean the sink everyday with anti-bacterial cleaner and disinfect it every week with warm water and a little bleach. Wash your baby’s feeding bottles, plates and dishes with boiled or filtered water before use.
I for Immunity builders
Give immunity-boosting diet comprising of essential Vitamins A, B, C and E and minerals like zinc and selenium, omega 3. Immunity boosting food items include: whole grains like oats, barley, millets, pulses like Bengal gram, lentils, beans and soya beans. Spice up food with ginger, garlic, pepper, asafoetida, cumin seeds, turmeric and coriander to improve immunity.
J for Junk Food Ban
“Avoid packaged and junk food including fried delicacies, processed (boxed cereals, namkeens, cookies), ready-to-eat meals (soups, noodles) and frozen food etc. during monsoons. Not only they are high on sodium and sugar but also reduce body’s power to fight diseases and cause infections.
K for Keep your home ventilated
Make sure there is cross-ventilation and lots of fresh air coming in your home during monsoons as humidity can lead to growth of disease causing bacteria.
L for Love nuts
Encourage your kids to snack on nuts like walnuts, flax seeds, fenugreek seeds, pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds, sunflower seeds during monsoon. “Though they are healthy to eat in all seasons but when other fruits and veggies get affected by bacteria dry fruits are dry, easy to store hence have rare chances of contamination,” informs Khyati.
M for Mosquitoes & insects
To avoid diseases like malaria and dengue, keep your home mosquito-free and protect your kids against them. Invest in good quality mosquito nets and repellants like the liquids, mats and coils (don’t make your child sleep too close to the repellants). When going out use a mosquito repelling cream, patch etc. for your child and yourself. Make sure your child is well-covered during nights. Get regular pest control done to avoid insects.
N for Nail Care
Nails are first carriers of germs in kids, so keep them trimmed. Also, babies’ nails are quite prone to fungal infections during monsoons. Anti-fungal creams or oral medications as prescribed by the doctor come handy in such cases. Discourage your children from biting their nails as it can lead to infection. Even you should keep your nails trimmed.
O for Outside Food/ Eating out guide
Ban street food and outside food completely during monsoon – right from chaat and sandwiches to ice gola and even restaurant food. You cannot trust the hygiene-quotient of your favourite chaat wala bhaiya nor you can make out what water went into making those yummy looking ice golas. “If you happen to eat at restaurants make sure food like dal, curries, soup and pasta that is supposed to be served hot must be served piping hot. Lukewarm food makes an ideal environment for bacteria growth,“ informs Dr. Rakesh Moyal. Similarly, frozen foods like ice cream must be served completely frozen. Reheating melted ice cream can cause bacterial growth. Avoid mithai and milk products if they are not stored at controlled temperatures as high sugar and milk is a suitable combo for bacterial growth.
P for Pink Eye
High moisture content in the air promotes growth of bacteria and virus, which causes pink eye or conjunctivitis. Symptoms including redness, discharge, swelling of conjunctiva, stickiness of eyes and itching can last for two days to two weeks. Conjunctivitis may resolve on its own within a few days. But if excessive itching, swelling and pain persists, consult a pediatrician. To prevent the disease, wash hands frequently, avoid contact with infected person, don’t share handkerchief to wipe the eyes. Children suffering from conjunctivitis should not be sent to school or play groups as they can be highly infectious to other children.
Q for Quick Dry!
During monsoons, moisture in the air does not allow the skin to breathe properly and triggers fungal infections. So, keep your kids dry as much as possible. Remove wet clothes and shoes at the earliest. In case of babies, wipe the folds and creases in areas like genetilia, under-arms and between toes and fingers with a cotton cloth to ensure they are dry. Use prickly powders, calamine lotions, organic baby powder and natural baby oil to keep them cool and safe. Use talcum powder in diaper area generously to avoid infections due to moisture. Using a dehumidifier is also suggested to prevent bacteria that multiplies in moisture. Whenever possible, show sunlight to your upholstery to remove any dampness, which could lead to germs if not treated.
R for Rain Gear
Children love rain! Any effort to keep them indoor is futile. So, invest in some smart and sturdy rain wear for the family. Some of the must-haves for the season are a hooded waterproof rain-coat, water-proof boots, an umbrella. (Water-resistant and water-proof are different terms, google!)
S for Stagnant water
Mosquitoes breed in logged water, which can lead to many dangerous diseases. Keep your home and surroundings free of stagnant water. Check for collected water in vases, flower pots, coolers, empty bottles and containers etc. If your kid happens splash in a puddle, make sure you clean him well with medicated soap..
T for Tummy troubles
Symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, aches and loss of appetite are collectively known as stomach flu or gastroenteritis. Keep your child well hydrated with fluids as this is the easiest cure. A well-hydrated child can fight infections in a better way.“Feed your child water, coconut water, and lemon water. Give oral rehydration solution and meet the doctor if there’s no improvement. Don’t miss the vaccines including typhoid, hepatitis-a ,flu vaccine etc,” suggests Dr.Makarand Shinde.
U for Use these generously
“I go on a stocking-spree during monsoons, when it comes to cleaning agents of any kind. From anti-bacterial soaps, disinfectants, mosquito repellants, sanitizers, antiseptic lotions at your home – we use them generously during the rainy season to keep ailments at bay!,” informs Delhi-based, Anwesha Mohapatra, a mother to seven years old Sakshi.
V for Vegetables and fruits
Eat your veggies/fruits fresh and after washing them thoroughly. Never eat pre-cut fruits and veggies as they can be infected by be disease causing germs. Include seasonal fruits like bananas, apples, pomegranates, cherries, plums and pears in your child’s diet. Avoid watermelons and muskmelons as due to their high water content they are more prone to bacterial growth. Vegetables like cauliflower and ladyfinger can have worms inside, so it is better to avoid them. Use ginger and onion generously in the food as they help in exterminating microbes from the stomach.
W for Water Basics
Install a good water filtration system at your home to ensure pure water to your family. “Boiled water is the best for your child as during monsoons flood water gets mixed with the drinking water, contaminating it with bacteria, virus, protozoa and parasite, which get killed after boiling. The ideal way to boil water is to heat it until bubbles come from bottom of the pot to the top. Once the water reaches rolling boil, continue for 1 min, If boiling is not possible, one cn add 0.75 ml of unscented bleach to 3 liters of clear tap water. However, water contaminated with fuel or a toxic chemical cannot be ade safe with boiling,” warns Dr.Rakesh Moyal.
X for X-tra care
Before the onset of monsoon, check for leakage and replace rusted and broken drainpipes as these can accelerate breeding of germs. Cooked food should be stored in fridge and consumed within the same day. Use air-tight bags and boxes to store all the eatables.
Y for Yes home remedies!
“Use camphor or cloves on your kitchen counter to keep away insects such as flies and termites during monsoon,” tells Ritu Dhawan, a home baker and mother of two kids, five year old Sandeep and 2 years old Rashi. “Juice of holy basil (tulsi) mixed with ginger and honey can help to treat viral fever. In case of skin infections, boil neem leaves in water and take a bath with it. Treat cold and cough by drinking water that’s boiled with a little dried ginger,” suggests Meha Buddhiraja, mother to five year old Sneha.
Z for Get some Zzz…
Getting adequate sleep is the best way to boost your child’s immunity. So, you know what to do!
First published in Child magazine.