We all have fond memories of playing in the rain, splashing about in muddy puddles, folding paper boats to float down the drain or maybe simply getting wet in a pouring shower. Like you, your little ones will love the rain, the fresh smell of leaves on the trees, the smell of wet grass and damp ground. But for all the joyous moments, the monsoon can also bring with it even more humid weather, flooded roads, traffic jams, mosquitoes and diseases. With a little care and forethought you can let your child enjoy this beautiful season and also keep him safe from illnesses.
We asked Dr. Chetan R Mundada a few questions that will help clear all doubts for parents regarding Monsoon care for kids.
The Chief Paediatric Intensivist & Consultant Paediatrician at Sunrise Children’s Hospital, Narayanguda, Hyderabad, Dr. Chetan is involved in children’s health care for more than a decade and a half, and can give great insights into the finer details of precautions.
Read on to find out more about our chat with him.
Q1. The monsoon season not only brings with it a respite from the heat of the summer months, it also brings many illnesses like cold, cough and flu. What are the precautionary measures that parents can take to keep their children healthy during this season?
Dr. Chetan: The rainy season is the time when we see a spike in outpatient visits as well as hospitalisation of Infants & young children. So its imperative for the parents to pay more attention to prevention of ailments during this time.
Many bugs causing respiratory infections like cold, cough, pneumonia thrive well during this season and as children’s immune response (resistance power) may not be adequate, they are more vulnerable against these.
First & foremost important is avoiding close contact of any person / family member suffering from any respiratory infections. Such persons should practise ‘hand hygiene’ (Washing hands with soap and water) before touching babies and young children.They should also wear face mask if close contact can not be avoided (e.g. – mothers).
While many times these illnesses are self limiting and can be dealt with simple home remedies and simple medications like paracetamol, prolonged self medication can be dangerous and consultation by Paediatrician should be sought whenever these are accompanied by persistent high fever, breathing difficulty, inability to take feeds / refusal to feed and prolonged bouts of cough / vomiting.
Another common cause for illness in this time is water / food borne diseases like diarrhoea, dysentry, Typhoid fever & Infective Jaundice – which can be prevented by consuming safe (Filtered, purified) water and homemade or hygienically prepared food and avoiding food joints / lorries where hygienic measures are a suspect. Keeping children well hydrated with water, buttermilk, coconut water, lemon juice and homemade juices is important during these illnesses
Q2. Does taking precautionary vaccines help? Which ones should be given to our kids?
Dr. Chetan: All Vaccines are basically precautionary measures, and every child should receive all the vaccines in the Universal Immunisation Program given at Govt centres and optional vaccines can be given after consultation with Paediatrician and considering affordability of the vaccines. In view of dramatic rise in prevalence of Typhoid fever and Jaundice due to Hepatitis A virus, I strongly advocate use of Hepatitis A & Typhoid vaccine in all children as per age
Q3. Your thoughts on the swine flu vaccine. Should this be taken as a preventive measure?
Dr.Chetan: Swine Flu Vaccine is a vaccine with limited preventive efficacy and has to be given every year as the virus keeps changing itself periodically but is especially useful at the time of epidemic of flu. It is recommended for high risk children with heart diseases, kidney diseases & certain respiratory conditions
Q4. What food and drinks should children consume during this season?
Dr. Chetan : As mentioned earlier, safe drinking water is of utmost importance in preventing water borne diseases. Healthy, nutritious diet complete with fibre rich fruits & vegetables and plenty of oral fluids. Include protein rich foods like pulses, sprouted cereals, dairy & poultry products for the growing children. Avoid excessive reliance on refined/maida based foods like biscuits / breads and junk foods for fixing the lunch boxes for school. Be careful in letting children indulge in outside food with an eye on the hygienic conditions of the eatery.
Q5. Mosquitoes are a common menace during this season. What precautions should one take to save our kids from mosquito borne diseases?
Dr. Chetan: Preventing favourable conditions for mosquito breeding is the single most imp factor for preventing mosquito borne diseases like Dengue, malaria & Japanese Encephalitis.
Keep all the stored clean water covered with well fitting lids, don’t let rain water accumulate in unused vessels/tyres/pots,blocked drains/sewages, Stagnant water collections should be promptly dealt with the help of civic authorities & residential societies.
Q6. If my child comes home completely drenched in rain, what preventive measures can one take?
Dr. Chetan: While playing in the rains can be fun for the kids, make sure they are wiped dry with prompt change of clothes once they are home, keep them warm with full clothing & use of heaters if needed and give them warm liquids like variety of soups / warm milk with added ginger or dry fruits. Watch for any symptoms like excessive sneezing, runny nose and fever.
Note– Special IPV Drive – In view of ongoing surveillance detecting vaccine derived polio virus in Hyderabad, Health authorities have come up with a special IPV campaign for areas in Hyd & RangaReddy Districts. Children from 6weeks -3years should receive one dose of Intramuscular polio Vaccine on the right shoulder intradermally. The vaccine is available only at govt designated booths till 26th June.
If you have any questions regarding your child’s health then you can mail them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and Dr. Chetan will answer them for you!