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Summer is here! And so are the long awaited summer vacations! In Delhi the temperature widget screams at 45 degree and the sun continues to glare upon humans with all its might. Away from the school and homework, the children want to play outdoors in the sun and don’t want to be confined to the house itself. They want to run free, swing on the slides, score sixes in matches, and play dodge ball and what not! That is the spirit of childhood. And we as parents keep worrying about their health. Sigh!
So what should we do? Worry! No, worrying never makes the things better. Instead of worrying fruitlessly, I decided to be a proactive mom who is informed of all the common summer health problems and takes the adequate precautions to keep her kid safe this summer. Some smart preparations which have helped me to sidestep the most common health issues are:
Common Summer Health Problems in kids
When my naughty little munchkin is busy playing with his cousins, all the kiddos are engrossed so much into their games that they actually forget to drink water. And this leads to dehydration. It appears that children are drinking more than the usual, but most likely they drink less than what their bodies need in hot weather. The signs of dehydration include nausea, vomiting, dry lips and tongue, dizziness and very little urine output.
What I do: I make sure that my son drinks fluids throughout the day. To give him a variety I offer him homemade fresh juices, coconut water (nariyal pani), nimbu pani, aam panna, lassi and chaas etc. In case of diarrhoea I mix salt and sugar with water and give him to sip it throughout the day.
2.Water borne diseases
We all know that it is not safe for kids to drink contaminated water. It may cause diseases like typhoid, diarrhoea, cholera, jaundice etc.
What I do: Carrying a bottle of filtered or boiled water while going outside is a mantra to live. Good hygiene practices also helps in reducing the chances of falling sick. Call me a strict mom but I always ensure that my son washes his hands properly with Dettol liquid hand wash before and after eating, after using the washroom, after coming back from playing etc. When on move, the hand sanitizer proves to be a big boon. Also as a family we avoid eating at unhygienic places.
People often confuse sunburn with a suntan. On exposure to the sun, the skin tans but sun burn is a more serious condition. While playing outside or while doing swimming, children can get exposed to strong Ultra Violet rays of the sun and they can develop red little blisters on their skin. In comparison to adults children are more prone to sunburn as their skin is softer and more sensitive than adults.
What I do: I make sure that my son never goes out to play between 11:00am -3:00 pm when the sun's rays are the strongest. Also covering up using full sleeves, hats and shades is the safest option in my book. A liberal application of a good sunscreen 20 minutes before going out also is also a part of our daily routine. In case he is under the sun for more than two hours than I reapply it again.
4.Fungal infection and diaper rashes
High humidity is an integral part of summers in India. Because of humidity children sweat a lot while playing and tend to develop fungal infection in areas like the underarms, groin, between the toes and body creases which don’t get much air time. The child will experience constant itching and redness. In babies, they could develop diaper rash. Sensitive bottoms coupled with sweat and a wet diaper is a lethal combination for a diaper rash.
What I do: Washing hands and feet after coming from outside is a routine practice at our home. During summers we all try to take the shower at least twice a day. Also I ensure that my son always wears fresh clothes and do not repeat any clothes without them being washed. He changes the sweat stained clothes as soon as possible. Till the time he was using diapers, I ensured that they were changed at regular intervals. After taking all precautions, there were times when he developed diaper rash also. Then being diaper free and a good diaper rash cream have always saved the day for me.
Also called heat rash, Prickly Heat occurs during hot weather especially in areas of high humidity. It is caused when sweat gets trapped under the skin due to dead skin cells blocking the pores and usually appears as tiny bumps on the skin surface. It usually appears on the neck, chest, shoulders and back, and can cause a stinging, itching sensation. Children are more prone to it since their sweat glands are still developing. While it usually clears up on its own, it can be uncomfortable for the while it lasts.
What I do: The summer wardrobe of my son only consists of soft light weight clothes. In case he shows any symptom, than I let him wander around without a shirt. For instant relief, I put some ice cubes in a cloth to make an ‘ice pouch’ and press it gently on the affected area. Making aloe vera gel at home using aloe leaves and applying in on the affected skin also works like a magic.
Mommies, do let me know about the precautions you take during summers to keep your precious little one safe from all the possible health hazards. Write in soon; maybe, I can pick up a few more from you.