If your child has been getting ill more often lately, read on as Tamima Islam gets into the nitty gritty of viral infections and weather change with Consultant of Paediatrics and Neonatology, Dr. Nusrat Farooq.
With the constant changes in climate and weather conditions, your child’s health has become a growing cause for concern. More and more children seem to be catching the common cold or fever nearly every time we enter into a new season, leaving them weak and vulnerable. When asked, Dr. Farooq assured that this is in fact normal as our bodies take time to adjust to the changing weather, which is the perfect time for a virus to take over.
“However, an added factor,” she said, “Is the increasing dirt and pollution around us, which cause more infections, especially in developing children.”
This is something all parents need to steer clear of by getting their children into hygienic habits such as washing hands after getting home and taking a shower every day. Such habits in-turn help to combat viruses. “There are very little things you can do to prevent viruses, but If you ask for five points for kids to note, I’d say the first three would be ‘Wash your hands’,” says Dr. Farooq. “Staying hygienic helps stay clear of typical infections.”
The other issue parents tend to be concerned about is whether they’re children are growing well and eating properly. This, as Dr. Farooq mentions, is highly dependent on the parents as they are fully responsible for ensuring a child gets not only enough food to eat, but the perfectly balanced diet. Common problems, like the absence of appetite in children, are usually caused by the food they eat, so it is very important to ensure they are enjoying their meals while also getting the right food groups into their system. Doing so not only ensures a well developing child, but also a strong immune system which will be less prone to illnesses.
In Bangladesh particularly, the humid, scorching weather that comes with summer tends to be optimal for children to catch and spread infectious germs, especially since they are always active. Taking some necessary steps, and keeping your child hydrated helps to avoid getting ill due to this weather. “Firstly, always make your child wear sunblock before they go out,” advises Dr. Farooq. “This is something that parents tend to neglect, but it is one of the most important things in child healthcare. Afterwards, when they come home, make sure they remove their clothes, and cool down at optimal temperature (25-27 degrees Celsius) before taking a shower.”
Contrary to popular belief, Dr. Farooq ensures that taking a shower even in the evening is perfectly safe for children as long as the water is not too cold and their hair is dried afterwards. “It’s always better to be hygienic and safe rather than being sick,” she says. “So even if it is late, make sure your child washes off the germs before hitting the bed.”
Above it all, it is very important to note that in the event of any such illness parents should avoid trying to prescribe medicines themselves. “We have got many cases where parents prescribe antibiotics to children, which is a very unsafe practice,” shares Dr. Farooq. “Please do not treat your own child no matter how small the illness might seem. Rather see your pediatrician as soon as possible.”