Children run in the rain, splash in puddles, make paper boats, and the whole family enjoys hot snacks and tea while savouring the aroma of the first showers during the monsoon season, which provides a welcome respite from the heat for both young and old. This rainy season’s drawback is that it also brings with it a number of communicable diseases, such as those transmitted by mosquitoes like dengue, chikungunya, and malaria, as well as those transmitted by food and water, like typhoid and hepatitis A, and by airborne viruses like influenza or other viral respiratory infections, with the threat of COVID-19 still looming large.
Dr. Vishal Parmar, a consultant paediatrician at Wockhardt Hospitals Mira Road, offered advice to HT Lifestyle readers on how to safely enjoy this season with kids. He recommended making sure your drinking water is secure (use boiled water, especially for infants under one year). Steer clear of raw foods like chutneys, salads, and fresh juices and water from the outside. Before eating, thoroughly wash all produce.
In reference to personal hygiene, he advised, “After stepping outside, wash your hands and feet thoroughly.” Always keep your nails neat and trimmed.
Flu, hepatitis, typhoid, malaria, dengue, and food poisoning cases rise during the monsoon. While there isn’t a vaccination for every dangerous illness, there are ones for the flu, typhoid, hepatitis A, Japanese encephalitis, etc. To prevent infection, Dr. Vishal Parmar listed the immunizations that children should have before or during the monsoon:
- Flu vaccine – Make sure your child has received their annual influenza vaccination booster, which is best administered during the pre-monsoon or monsoon season. It can be challenging to distinguish between influenza (also known as the seasonal flu) and COVID-19 because both might present with similar symptoms such as fever, sore throat, or cough. As a result, it is highly recommended that parents give their older children the influenza vaccine every year. Covid-19 and influenza co-infection can result in more serious sickness. The flu vaccine would be your child’s next-best option till the COVID immunization is made available to kids in India. In order for the infant to receive immunity from the breastmilk, it is strongly advised that breastfeeding women also receive the COVID vaccine.
- Hepatitis A– Liver function is a specific target of hepatitis A. It results in jaundice, fever, vomiting, and appetite loss. A youngster may occasionally require a liver transplant or frequent admissions to the ICU. Typhoid and hepatitis A are transmitted via tainted food and water. Therefore, their possibilities are higher during the monsoon. Children who are older than one year old can receive vaccinations. Two doses can be given, separated by six months.
- Typhoid—Salmonella bacteria, which primarily targets the intestines and produces prolonged fevers and other issues, is the primary cause of enteric fever, which spreads through contaminated food and water. Children as young as six months old can receive the typhoid vaccine. Only one dosage is required.
- Mosquitoes – They procreate primarily during the wet season. Use a natural mosquito repellent to keep them away, keep windows and doors properly meshed, and stay away from empty pots and other places around the house where rainwater can pool and serve as a breeding ground for mosquito larvae. The two most prevalent diseases carried by mosquitoes are dengue and malaria.