A Guide to Protect your Children from Infections this Monsoon
The most common ailments which affect children and spread rapidly in the schools and daycare centres are flu and common cold. Swine flu cases also tend to increase in this weather. Apart from this, there are chances of them suffering from skin diseases, water borne diseases and mosquito borne diseases.
In India, monsoon is the most awaited season of the year as it gives everyone the much needed relief from heat. People like to indulge in fried food like samosas, bread and onion pakodas along with hot tea or coffee. However, the change in weather conditions also brings along various diseases. Elderly people and children are most affected by this sudden change as their immunity is not strong. There are innumerable types of germs and infections that monsoons bring with them and it is very important for parents to take necessary precautions to prevent their children from falling ill. Most of these disease causing germs boom in moisture; monsoon is the season when you should be very careful about keeping your children away from these germs.
Here are some common diseases which children suffer from during this season and some preventive measures to avoid them.
This is the most common disease that affects children during monsoons. The drastic fluctuation in the temperature makes the child’s body susceptible to bacterial attack resulting in viral cold and flu. It is important to treat children at an early stage as any delay can lead to serious infections ahead.
It is one of the most severe diseases that comes along with monsoon. It is a very common and quite a life threatening disease caused when bitten by Aedes Aegypti mosquito. These mosquitoes breed in hot and humid climate. India is very prone to dengue outbreaks! Being a mosquito borne disease, there is a rise in dengue cases during humid monsoons. Some early symptoms are fever, headache, rashes, and pain throughout the body.
This disease is caused by the bite of female anopheles mosquito, that are found in areas where there is water logging. The symptoms of this disease are high fever along with frequent shivering and severe exhaustion. If the child is experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, you must consult your doctor immediately.
It is a serious bacterial disease that causes severe dehydration. It is caused by the Vibrio cholerae bacteria present in contaminated food and water. This disease is triggered by poor sanitation and hygiene conditions.The symptoms of this disease can be vomiting, sudden onset of diarrhea, nausea, dry mouth, reduced urine output.
This is another common water-borne disease which is caused by consuming contaminated water and food. It is caused due to bacterial infection caused by Salmonella Typhi. Most common symptoms of this disease are prolonged fever, severe pain in abdomen and headache.
This is a mosquito borne viral disease, similar to Dengue. It causes fever and severe joint pains and can last for a long time. This disease can be transmitted from one person to another with the bite of female mosquito. It doesn’t have any proper cure or vaccination. However, if your child is suffering from this disease, he must rest as much as possible and have plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
This can be one of the easiest diseases to attack children during this season. Due to consumption of contaminated food and water, there are high chances of children suffering stomach infections. The early symptoms are vomiting, headache and mild fever.
Consumption of contaminated food and water is the primary cause of this disease.The symptoms of jaundice are yellowing of eyes and nails, loss of appetite, loss of taste, weakness, high temperature with shivering. Symptoms of this disease shouldn’t be ignored as this disease can prove life threatening also.
A type of spiral-shaped bacterium called a spirochete causes leptospirosis. It occurs because of close association with contaminated water. Symptoms of this disease include high fever, chills, headache, and liver failure. If ignored this disease can be fatal.
This is a disease that affects the liver majorly. It is caused by consuming contaminated food and water. Some of the common symptoms of hepatitis A are fever, vomiting and rashes. It is a virus that can easily affect anyone; it can also be transmitted from one person to another.
Precautions for the rainy season are really easy and practical. Although the monsoons are most enjoyable, it is the main period in which health and skin diseases are most common. If one follows some simple tips during this season, he/she can enjoy the monsoons thoroughly. Here are some of the preventive measures –
- Ensure that the child drinks purified water. Most of the diseases are transmitted via contaminated water, hence it is a good idea to make sure it is purified.
- Ensure healthy and balanced diet. A daily bowl of hot vegetable soup normalises body temperature and boosts immunity.
- Use mosquito repellent and nets to avoid bites from mosquitoes transmitting dengue.
- Make sure that the child eats fresh homemade food. Avoid junk and oily food as much as possible.
- Make sure that children wash their hands with soap and water prior to touching any food item. This will help in reducing the risk of major diseases.
- Seek medical attention if you see your child suffering from any of the above symptoms.
- Make sure that the child covers his / her mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing as this will reduce the spread of germs.
- Keep your children’s clothes and shoes clean and dry as it helps avoid skin infections.
- Parents should ensure that their child’s nails are clipped short to prevent accumulation of germs and dirt.
- Keep your child indoors during the first rain of the season. This rain can be acidic and could cause skin ailments.
- Do not let children play in dirty water and protect your child from mosquitoes.
- Make sure there is no stagnant water either in your house or around your house as it is a breeding ground for mosquitoes (cause diseases like Malaria and Dengue), parasites and anaerobic bacteria.
- It is important for parents to take care of themselves, since they can transmit the infection to their children.
- Keep ginger handy as it is a natural antibiotic and it can be mixed with all other natural ingredients.
- Lemon is very helpful in fighting cholera.
- Keep honey and tulsi leaves handy as they also fight cold and flu.
As children love to enjoy the cool weather and rain, it is important that their parents take some extra care and pay more attention to them. Children easily get affected by seasonal changes as monsoon raises health issues in children. It is important for parents to follow these simple tips in order to protect their children from various diseases this monsoon, without holding them back from enjoying the rain this season offers.
Dr Chamdawala has been practising for over three decades. He is currently the lead Pediatrician at Mumbai’s Saifee Hospital – a leading multi-speciality tertiary healthcare centre – and has been at the hospital since the hospital’s inauguration in 2005.
Prior to Saifee Hospital, Dr Chamdawala was a consultant at Saboo Siddique Maternity & General Hospital for close to 15 years. Prior to that, Dr Chamdawala began his medical practice at Dholkawala Maternity Home in 1985.
Dr Chamdawala attended Mumbai’s KC College and then passed his MBBS from Seth Gordhandas Sunderdas Medical College before moving to Vienna University, Austria to complete his Diploma in Pediatrics. In his spare time, Dr Chamdawala enjoys reading and watching movies. (Dr Shabbir Chamdawala, Pediatrician, Saifee Hospital )