Posted by : Varun Doshi
On : 21 July 2014
Comments : 0
Views : 2466
The monsoon season provides some cool relief after a hot summer. However, the rains also bring humid weather, flooded roads, mosquitoes, diseases and lots more. Fortunately, with a few precautions, you can help your baby enjoy the monsoon and stay safe. Here are the issues to keep in mind.
Common illnesses during the monsoon and how to prevent them
Some diseases are more common during the monsoon. Speak to your doctor if your baby gets any of these warning signs.
The dengue virus is mainly transmitted by mosquitoes that bite during the day. Early signs of dengue in infants are like signs of a viral illness: fever, runny nose, cough, and a mild skin rash.
Babies may also have:
joint and muscle pain
pain behind the eyes
tiny red spots on the skin
If your child shows any of these signs, take him to the clinic right away.
Viral infections are very contagious and common. If your baby has a fever, joint pain, chills, coughs or sneezes, take him to the doctor. A viral infection cannot be cured by antibiotics but the doctor might have medicine to help with some of the symptoms.
To keep your baby safe from viruses, stay away from people who are sick with the flu, viral infections, conjunctivitis or other diseases. Ask your family and friends to wash their hands before touching your baby.
Flooding during the rainy season can make water sources dirty. If you are bottle feeding your baby, use boiled and cooled water to make his formula. This will help prevent stomach flu and diarrhoea.
Your baby can catch germs when a sick person sneezes or coughs near him. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. Then wash your hands with soap and water.
If your friends or family are sick, ask them to visit you once they are well again. Avoid crowded places where you and your baby could catch an infection.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that spreads through dirty water. The infection is serious and can cause meningitis, liver damage, jaundice and renal failure.
Danger signs include:
If you notice your baby has any of these signs, get him to the doctor.
Prickly heat is also most common during the monsoon when the humid weather makes babies sweat. Your baby is likely to develop prickly heat in the folds of his skin. Try to keep your baby dry by dressing him appropriately and using the fan, cooler or AC. Use caution when applying talcum powder as it is not good for your baby to inhale it.
Healthcare for your family
Consider getting healthcare insurance for you and your family to help with the expense of unforeseen medical emergencies. Then keep your health insurance card and any relevant paperwork handy in case you have to leave in a hurry.
Personal hygiene and cleanliness
Your baby may sweat a lot in humid weather. This could lead to fungal infections, skin rashes or allergies. You can keep your baby clean and healthy by giving him baths or sponge baths at least once a day. When you bathe your baby, check his neck, underarms, genitalia and other creases in his body. You can try adding a few drops of neem oil (neem ka tel) to the bath. It is said to be a natural way to cleanse the body.
Washing hands helps to keep diseases at bay. Make sure to wash your and your baby's hands after you change his nappies and after he eats, if he is old enough to have solid food. Cut your baby's nails often. That will help keep him clean and healthy. See also that your babysitter or maid washes her hands and feet well when she enters your home.
If you find it difficult to ask friends and guests to wash their hands before holding your baby, keep a hand sanitiser with you. See that anyone who wants to hold your baby uses it.
Dressing right and caring for clothes
During the monsoon, the weather can change a lot in a day. It could start out hot and humid and then get cold after some rain. If it is humid, you could dress your baby in loose cotton clothes that will let his skin breathe. Cover your baby's arms and legs during the day to protect him from mosquito bites.
When it is cold, wrap your baby in a jacket or cardigan to keep him warm. Keep his skin dry to avoid prickly heat. Washed clothes take longer to dry in humid weather, and wearing damp clothes or socks can lead to fungal infections.
If they stay moist in the cupboard, they can get mouldy, which is not healthy for your baby. So buy some extra underclothes for your baby. And make sure he always wears dry, clean clothes.
Keeping food and drink clean
During the monsoon, tap water may get polluted by ground or waste water. If your baby is on formula milk, use boiled and cooled water to make his feed. That will keep it safe.
If you are breastfeeding your baby, keep breastfeeding him. Your breastmilk will strengthen your baby's immune system and help protect him from illness. This is because your breastmilk contains antibodies that will make him strong and healthy. Try to breastfeed for at least six months. Make sure you eat healthily, as it can affect your baby through your breastmilk.
Wash your baby's feeding bottles, plates and dishes with boiled or filtered water before use. Many homes now have geysers in the kitchen for constant boiled water, used to clean food and wash dishes.
Keeping your baby safe from mosquitoes
Clear stagnant water from in or around your home. These are breeding grounds for mosquitoes, which can cause malaria, dengue or chikungunya. If you have indoor plants, change the water in the vases daily. Use a mosquito net for your child's bed and install wire meshes on the windows. These measures will help keep mosquitoes away from your baby.
Do a pre-monsoon check
Ensure that your home is clean and safe before the monsoons arrive. Get an electrician to fix any faulty wiring and switches. Have your plumber fix any leaking fixtures and get your drains cleaned before the rains. Check and repair any cracks in the house.
Child safety and other tips
Here are more safety tips:
Keep your baby indoors during the first rain of the season. This rain can be acidic and could cause skin problems.
During weather changes, babies often get sick. Try not to take your baby out till the weather stabilises.
Keep an medical kit with medicines and supplies for the monsoon. Ask your doctor which medicines you should buy.
Related : Health Tips for Monsoon