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Untill now I used to await chilly winds but when this year my daughter fell ill due to on-off climate change, I fear this climate and will always be extra cautious with my little ones health. The pleasantries which winter gets, comes along with infections. Children suffer frequent colds and coughs. Since this climate leads to formation of smog, everything around seems to be dusty and more polluted, thus causing respiratory diseases. It is difficult though not impossible to protect our kids from the ill effects of weather. I try following traditional yet conventional methods. Few are:
1. It is quite a Task covering your toddler with full clothes. Till the time they are babies we can make them wear whatever we want to, mostly without any fuss. But as they grow and start understanding clothes, it comes directly from them. My 3 year old wants to wear only frock or skirt/top that too without any winter clothes. All the adorable jackets, sweaters, stockings and caps are resting in the cupboard. Children look so good when they are covered, especially in winter wear. But I still try to manage by compulsorily making her wear thermal inner along with socks to keep her body warm. Sometimes if she is convinced we cover her ears with cotton. This keeps us rest assured of the cool breeze coming while she is outdoors. This will also apply in monsoons. Since Mumbai rains are so unpredictable, whenever I am out in monsoons I carry her raincoat along. In summers, a hat or umbrella will help in giving some protection against the harsh sun.
2. We love throwing away blankets. I am sure most of the toddlers don’t like wearing blankets while sleeping. So we try to at least make her wear a full sleeves top with thermal and thick pyjamas along with socks as a nightwear.
3. On daily basis, we drink water from earthen pot or copper jug. But during winters the water in earthen pot is very chilled to consume. One must have warm water and also give the same to kids. It will give good relief to sore throat. It is always advisable to give boiled water specially when we near end of summer, since water levels go down.
4. My doctor says, always have seasonal fruits. It helps to build immunity and fight against infection. But there are many fruits available in the market which are not seasonal and are cloned. Avoid having them.
5. Giving warm water with honey/tulsi (to kids above 1 year), can give relief against mild sore throat.
6. Give milk with turmeric, since it has antiseptic healing properties.
7. Include lot of dry fruits and veggies. This will help build strong immune system.
8. Include soup in diet. Chicken soup is great during cold weather.
9. Wash your child's hands at regular intervals especially before having meal and coming from outdoors/toilet. The most common cause of cold & flu is the bug residing on our hands. In monsoon make it a point to wash feet after coming home. It’s a healthy practice if followed daily.
10. If your child catches cold, do not send her to school to prevent other kids from getting infected.
11. Moisturize skin daily. A warm oil Massage before bath is ideal. Do apply sunscreen during peak hours
12. Onset of winter also brings in mosquitoes. Use mosquito repellent before going out.
13. Flu spreads fast in winter because the moisture in air is low. Use humidifiers indoors.
14. Serve nutritious food with lot of veggies and fruits.
15.It is normally advised by doctors to give flu vaccinations to prevent the child from getting infected.
16. Avoid giving daily bath when climate is cold. A warm sponge is more than enough. Wash hair only once in a week.
It is important to not change diet and food completely when there is weather change. For e.g. when the weather is still changing like it's neither hot nor cold? Avoid giving ice cream or cold stuff.
Change in climate is not in our hands. We can take few steps to protect our health. ‘Prevention is always better than cure’