How children should be prepared to ward off monsoon illnesses

The Tomato fever of flu or tomato fever is characterised by rashes and blisters that are red in colour. Photo: WeStudio/Shutterstock

Children are recently seen flocking to clinics and hospitals in Kerala with viral fevers and hand foot and mouth disease after returning to schools after the pandemic-induced lockdown. The ‘immunity deprivation’ due to lack of contact with viruses during the COVID isolation of the past 2-3 years has resulted in children getting exposed to a number of viruses they have no antibodies against.

Here are some tips for parents to ward off illnesses children are prone to:

» Keep them hydrated: Utmost importance is to be given for ensuring that children drink plenty of water – do not offer tea or caffeinated drinks as they can cause more dehydration. This will prevent children from becoming sick and dehydrated when they develop fever. When a child is hydrated temperature decreases. When children are sick and have a fever, they often do not want to eat and that is fine, but it is very important to keep them hydrated by offering fluids

» Avoid panicking: Do not panic when a child develops fever. Give paracetamol and only paracetamol when the child is uncomfortable due to fever. A child who is active or asleep but febrile need not be given a medicine for fever reduction as fever is part of the child’s defense mechanism.

» Avoid antibiotics: As no antibiotic works for these viral illnesses, desist from giving antibiotics to bring down fever.

» Ensure cleanliness: Children are now used to hand washing with sanitizers due to the pandemic. Washing hands with soap and water helps prevent diarrhoeal illnesses that are common during monsoon

» Follow a balanced diet: Avoid street foods as home food is ideal. Include ample greens and seasonal fruits like banana, papaya and pomegranate in their diet. Include beetroot since it is packed with antioxidants, and is known to increase immunity. Avoid pre-cut fruits and salads. Dry fruits and nuts are among the best foods to boost immunity during the monsoon.

» Protect them from mosquitoes: Mosquitoes breed in the rainy season which makes kids prone to dangerous infections like dengue that is spreading in our state. So, cover your child with loose, full sleeves 100% cotton clothing that leaves minimal skin exposed. Mosquito nets on windows and doors and child-safe mosquito repellent creams prevent mosquito bites.

» Ensure diaper care: Frequent urination is a common occurrence in the monsoon. If you have infants, diapers (preferably cotton-padded diapers) have to be changed frequently to avoid wetness and fungal infections.

» Keep them warm and dry: Wetness and dampness increase the chances of infections. Hence, it is pertinent that we encourage children to carry raincoats and umbrellas when stepping out. In case the child gets wet, we must ask them to change into clean and dry clothes immediately after reaching home.

(Dr. Jeeson C Unni is Senior Consultant, Paediatrics, Aster Medcity, Kochi.)

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