Monsoon Fitness Tips: Here's How to Keep Your Kids Healthy During the Monsoon Season
Rains are a great relief from the overwhelming summer heat and discomfort caused by the dry weather. At the same time, monsoons pose serious health risks because of water contamination and the extensive distribution of airborne and waterborne pathogens. Children are especially prone to health problems during this period because of their reduced immunity and tendency to catch transmissible viral conditions. Because of the persistent rains, moisture accumulates on dry areas such as walls, clothes, and skin, causing fungal problems that are exacerbated on children's sensitive skin.
How to keep kids healthy this monsoon
1) Ensure that they drink clean, uncontaminated water.
Studies from UNICEF have shown that every year, 87,500 children under 15 die from diarrhoea linked to unsafe water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities. Mild diarrhoea usually lasts for 3–6 days and subsides on its own. If the symptoms do not subside, the problem gradually assumes chronic proportions. Chronic and severe diarrhoea causes dehydration and malnutrition issues that can be fatal.
The WHO has stated that more children die from diarrhoea than from violent conditions. And diarrhoea is not the only problem caused by contaminated water. Cholera, typhoid, amoebiasis, and even meningitis can result from drinking contaminated water or ingesting food that has been washed or prepared using unclean water.
Drinking clean, uncontaminated water is one of the primary methods of avoiding disease during the monsoon season. Besides destroying harmful viruses and bacteria during the cleaning process, it even flushes out toxins, cleanses the gastrointestinal tract, and reduces the spread of diseases.
Boiling water is the most effective method of cleaning it. You can also use chlorine tablets, alum, or, with due precaution, bleach to purify, alum, or, with due precaution, bleach to purify it. Along with keeping you safe, it will keep your child sufficiently hydrated as well.
2) Excellent rain protection
Umbrellas are one of the first things that come to mind for protection from the constant rains. But in the case of children, umbrellas are not a feasible option to carry or maintain. Contrary to popular belief, umbrellas don't attract lightning. However, they slow down the pace and can be difficult to manage when taking cover during low-light conditions. They also prove inadequate for severe rains or thunderstorms and can be dangerous as they carry an electric charge from the thunderstorm.
Raincoats and good-quality rainwear for children in monsoons. The hands-free advantage provided by a raincoat makes movement easy for them. Raincoats offer complete protection from the rain and are a great option during lightning and thunderstorms. They are compact and do not allow moisture from rain or the outside atmosphere to penetrate the inner clothing.
They are easy to clean, dry quickly, and are compact, making them easy to store and maintain. Usually, PVC is the first choice for children's rainwear because it provides a waterproof layer on the garment. Additionally, polyester and raincoat are fabric options to consider when purchasing a good quality for your child. Sometimes woolen fabrics are also available, but they take a long time to dry, and because of this, it is best to go for a waterproof, thicker, and stronger option.
Apart from ensuring its rainproof nature, you also need to take care that the rainwear used by your child is breathable. Children are mostly hyperactive, and constant activity makes them sweat regardless of the rain. A breathable raincoat will allow air to circulate inside, which will help dry the sweat in less time.
Choosing the right size is critical during this time because it allows your child to move comfortably while wearing it and prevents rainwater from seeping inside. In addition to rainwear, waterproof rain accessories in the form of rain boots and clogs will protect their feet and be easy to maintain.
3) Wear appropriate clothing.
Every season has its share of appropriate clothes, and monsoons are no different. Apart from proper rainwear, selecting inner clothing that is easy to maintain and will withstand temperature and humidity changes is equally important. Usually, cotton is a preferable option as it is breathable and allows air to flow in and around the skin. Cotton is easily washable and dries faster than other fabrics.
Apart from cotton, linen is another ideal option, as it dries quickly and is a perfect choice during phases of heavy rain that stretch for days. A significant advantage linen offers is its absorbent qualities, which make it a suitable fabric for humid conditions. Studies have even shown that linen has antibacterial properties that slow down the growth of microbes transmitted externally.
Thick clothing, such as denim and cords, should be avoided during this time because they do not dry quickly and can accumulate fungus. Long, flowing frocks, skirts, and dresses should be avoided as they can get soiled from the dirt and accumulated puddles. Avoid wearing the same clothing for days at a stretch, as it can get soiled and act as a carrier for viruses and fungus.
4) Keep the house free of mosquitoes.
Children are at a high risk of malaria and other mosquito-related diseases as their immunity is lower than that of adults. Studies have shown that approximately 300–500 cases occur yearly, with the majority of malaria-related deaths found to be in children. Infants between the ages of six months and five years are especially vulnerable to malarial conditions, as they have lost maternal immunity and have not developed humoral immunity for fighting the malarial pathogens.
Mosquito bites in children can be avoided by keeping the environment free of stagnant water and preventing mosquitoes from entering. The first thing to do in this matter is check for the possibility of clogged drains and gutters around your house and clean them. Avoid drying laundry indoors, as it can lead to moisture accumulation and make it increasingly difficult to eliminate malarial pathogens. Don't paint the house during this period, as it can dampen the walls and promote the breeding of mosquitoes, among other unhealthy conditions.
Cover any possible outlets with nets or wires so the mosquitoes can't get in. Make your children and toddlers wear clothing that fully covers their bodies to reduce the intensity of mosquito bites. Use mosquito nets during the night, as mosquitoes are most active during this time.
You can use an indoor mosquito repellent or child-friendly insecticide to destroy the ones inside the house. Using a dehumidifier can work wonders, as mosquitoes tend to hide inside dark and humid places like sinks, below sofas, and inside kitchen spaces.
5) Make sure they have a good-quality diet.
One of the chief problems with mosquito-induced diseases is that there is yet to be a cure for the condition. In such situations, it becomes essential to boost the child's immunity to help the body fight the pathogens.
The lowered immune system affects children and adults equally and results in the return of the pathogens after being flushed out, with a subsequent relapse of the symptoms. In children of breastfeeding age, mother's milk is the best source of immunity. While the child develops the necessary immunity, the mothers are put at risk during this time. Breastfeeding mothers should consume a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and choline during this period for the safety of either of them.
These nutrients can be obtained from natural sources like fish, dairy, egg yolks, and mushrooms. Alternatively, they should consume them in the form of supplements with the advice of a physician.
In children that have passed the breastfeeding period, foods like low-fat yoghurt and pomegranate are the chief sources of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that will strengthen their immune system and help fight pathogens. In addition to its antioxidant properties, yoghurt is an effective probiotic that reduces the symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders. Pomegranate contains Vitamin C, which helps fight the signs of the common cold and flu. The fibres of the fruit clean the digestive system and prevent your child from getting constipated.
Apart from the above-mentioned food sources, leafy greens like spinach, drumsticks, and snake gourd are other immunity boosters that should be washed thoroughly and cooked before being fed to children.
Rains are highly enjoyed by children while simultaneously being the season for viral diseases and bacterial pathogens. Rainwear, mosquito protection, and immunity boosters can go a long way in keeping kids safe during the monsoons. But at the same time, it is essential to teach them personal hygiene factors like avoiding outside food, washing their hands regularly, and cutting their nails. Keeping their clothes clean, taking regular showers, and making them wear regularly washed clothes are other hygiene-based ways of ensuring your child's safety during the monsoons.