Healthy Children make for Happy Children
The birth of a baby brings a lot of happiness for the proud parents. Their life now revolves around their baby and its well-being. They take all measures to protect their baby and keep it out of harm’s way. But as the child grows up, he loves doing things that are his parents’ nightmare, be it getting soaked in the rain, rolling in mud, sticking dirty fingers into his mouth, guzzling soda and of course gobbling up ice-cream and candy like there’s no tomorrow! And all this, while his tender body is still working hard to build up its immunity. Here’s where your role as a parent becomes supremely critical yet tough - keeping your child in perfect health without robbing his childhood of fun and frolic.
So, the next time you are tempted to stop your child from having some innocent fun, remember these top ailments that afflict children and what you can do to prevent them.
This is very common in toddlers and pre-schoolers (ages 0-2 years), but also fairly prevalent in older kids. Caused due to a viral infection, it spreads very quickly, especially in children who love to share their toys and food. The most apparent symptoms are a running nose and congestion, and sometimes can be accompanied by body ache and fever.
Safeguards: Though there is no cure for common cold, try to keep your children away from anyone suffering from a cold. Also, monsoon and winter seasons are notorious for helping the virus thrive, hence keep your home warm and clean. Give children hot soup, lentils, citrus fruits and lots of protein.
Upper Respiratory Tract Infection: URTI, as it is called, is usually caused due to inhalation of fumes from vehicles and other pollutants, and is prevalent in children with lower immunity. It causes congestion of the throat, persistent cough, fever, body aches and in severe cases, wheezing and difficulty in breathing.
Safeguards: Keep children away from people with symptoms of cold and flu. Keep your house free of dust and do not visit construction sites and places with high vehicular emissions. Ensure they eat healthy and do adequate physical exercise.
Gastroenteritis or Stomach Bug: An infection affecting the digestive system, this can cause diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach cramps and fever. There is a rapid loss of water and electrolytes from the child’s body and hence you need to be alert and keep hydrating the child with fluids and salts.
Safeguards: Inculcate the habit of frequent washing of hands with soap in your children, especially after using the toilet and before eating. Toddlers have to be reminded repeatedly to avoid putting their fingers or other objects in their mouths. Also clip their nails short to prevent accumulation of dirt.
Hand-Foot-Mouth disease: The virus that causes this disease runs rampant in the summer season and usually affects toddlers. It causes painful sores coupled with red blisters on the hand, feet and/ or in the throat.
Safeguards: Avoid contact with other children suffering from this disease. Keep the house clean and wash your hands as often as possible often with soap and water, especially after changing diapers and using the toilet. Offer cold liquids to the child to alleviate the discomfort in his throat.
Dental Hygiene: Inadequate oral hygiene amongst kids is leading to an increasing incidence of tooth decay, in smaller as well as older children.
Safeguards: Brushing teeth twice a day should be a must-do routine for everyone. Children should avoid sticky and sugary food and rinse their mouth after every meal. Regular dental check-ups go a long way in preventing serious damage.
With the advancement of science, a number of diseases have been tackled by immunisations. Remember to adhere to the schedule of vaccinations religiously. If your child is unwell, don’t send him to school as that will spread the infection. In certain cases like dehydration, high fever or if the child has stopped eating, don’t shy away from calling your paediatrician. Remember, it’s up to you to help your children grow up to be healthy, self-assured and confident adults.
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