The southwest monsoon rains bring with them the much-needed respite from the summer heat and heralds the start of the sowing season when crops like rice, cotton, maize etc are planted. In addition, the rains also bring a sense of happiness for each one of us, for as the quote aptly puts it there is such joy in watching the falling rain while sipping on a nice piping hot cup of chai. However, the monsoon also brings with it its own set of problems, relating to viral infections (like cold, flu), mosquito-borne diseases (like malaria, dengue etc) and water/foodborne diseases (like typhoid, cholera etc). Kids are especially vulnerable to the risk of these monsoon related infections so it is essential to take extra precautionary measures to keep them safe and healthy. Let us take a look at a few such measures which can be taken.
- Frequent Handwashing
The importance of frequent and effective handwashing has been brought to the forefront over the past few months. The reason for this is that hands are the medium through which any type of infection spreads to other parts of the body. So practicing hand hygiene forms the first line of defense against numerous monsoon diseases.
Since children everywhere are already diligently following the proper technique of handwashing over the past few months it is now just the question of encouraging them to continue doing so, wiping their hands dry after every wash is also essential during the monsoon season as it prevents fungal infections. In addition get your kids to wash their feet every time they come in from outside (also ensuring they wipe it dry at once).
- Staying Dry
An extension of keeping your kids’ hands and feet clean and dry is ensuring their clothes are also free of dampness. During the monsoon season even mild dampness in clothes encourages the growth of bacteria and fungus. Kids absolutely love playing in the rain! So while letting them jump in puddles and dance in the rain to their hearts content is a priority for you so is protecting them from catching a cold or falling ill. To get the best of both worlds namely happiness and health, ensure that as soon as your kids enter the house all soaking wet you make them take a hot shower (using an antiseptic soap), then wipe them down thoroughly. Taking the precaution of a warm shower will help get rid of all the germs and viruses and thereby keep your kids safe from all types of viral infections, skin allergies and water borne diseases.
- Drinking Boiled/ Filtered Water
There is a higher risk of groundwater becoming contaminated during the monsoons due to dirt and other debris washed away by the rain seeping into the ground and mixing with the groundwater. The high level of humidity also increases the multiplying rate of bacteria. Therefore it is especially important to ensure your kids only drink boiled or filtered water, thereby protecting them from water borne diseases.
- Eating Home Cooked Food
It is better to avoid outside food especially chaats, fresh juices, ice golas, kulfis etc during the monsoon season. The reason is that unfiltered water which is used most often to make these food items tends to get more easily contaminated with bacteria during monsoons. Therefore consuming such food increases your kids’ risk of being infected by these water borne bacteria. In addition during the monsoons your kids’ digestive system tends to slow down, so it is advisable to also avoid buying fried foodstuffs like samosas, pakodas etc from outside.
For the monsoons, home cooked nutritious food like hot soups and cooked seasonal vegetables (they need to be washed thoroughly) are best for your kids.
- Ensure there is no Water Stagnation at Home
There is also a high risk of mosquito borne diseases during the monsoons. Water stagnation due to the rains added to the humidity in the atmosphere creates the ideal environment for mosquitoes to breed. Therefore it is essential to ensure that there is no stagnation of rain water in unused flower pots, drains, puddles etc, even water stored in pots provide the ideal breeding spot so cover any such containers storing water with a lid. Even indoor plants etc need to be checked at regular intervals to ensure there is no water stagnation in the drainage plates placed at the bottom of the flower pots.
Following these simple precautionary measures will ensure your kids stay hale and healthy while enjoying this monsoon season.