When you enter a pediatrician’s clinic and see around you ten other kids waiting for their turn before yours, you know at once that it is the ‘Climate-Change Syndrome’ that has struck. Yet again! Just look at your young victims… coughing, runny-nosed, cranky, dull-due-to-fever or raring to go despite all the symptoms! Not to forget the sickest (in more ways than one) of them all, the poor, hassled parents! Don’t you sometimes feel it might be better that you fall sick instead of your li’l ones?
Well, considering the fact that erratic weather changes have become the order of the day, it will help if parents are better prepared to tackle this problem with some foresight, by protecting their children adequately. Here are a few tips, some personal, some professional, to protect your child. And if any of them prove to be effective, do write about it!
1.When entering a cold atmosphere, say an air-conditioned auditorium or theatre make sure your child is dressed in warm clothes. The chest, feet and ears should be protected. Needless to say, a hot, humid environment requires light, cool clothing.
2. Encourage children to drink plenty of water. Make sure that it is about one litre a day, says paediatrician Dr. Priya Chandrasekhar. Most importantly, she insists that the water be boiled before consuming.
3. Climatic changes can lead to dry skin which can get itchy and irritating. Dr. Priya suggests use of mild soap-preferably glycerin-based, and the use of a moisturizer. Regular oil massages can be very good for children. Use chap sticks for chapped lips and avoid using powder as it tends to dry the skin. When going out under the harsh sun, apply child-friendly sunscreen lotion to prevent sunburns. A cool cap or hat can be of help under the blazing midday sun.
4. Instill healthy habits in your children. For instance, you should encourage your child to wash his hands and feet before eating or when they return home from outdoors. This prevents transmission of germs. “If they are running a cold or cough, parents need to teach their kids cough etiquettes,” says Dr. Priya. They should be taught to wear a cold mask or at least cover their mouths with a hankie when coughing or sneezing. At the same time they should be taught to avoid close contact (however ‘close’ the friend) with infected people.
5. Take care of the asthma attacks. Dr. Priya says, “Asthmatic conditions can get aggravated when there is a climate change, apart from the usual trigger factors, like pollution, smoke and dust.” So be prepared with the right medication for any wheezing attacks at this stage.
6. Avoid eating uncooked food or vegetables outside. Your child runs the risk of picking up stomach-related infections, if vegetables aren’t cleaned properly. Water borne diseases are particularly rampant during cold or rainy weather
7. If your child has low immunity, it’s best to avoid crowded places. And to boost up immunity levels, pay attention to their nutrition including their full share of fruits and vegetables for vitamins so that their general health improves.
8. As a final word of advice, Dr. Priya requests parents to ensure that their kids have been given all the injections, that have been prescribed for their age. “And if you are entering the cold season, get the flu shots done,” she says.