After the dull autumn and long winters, spring is finally here. So summers are also not far off. Initially, it’s a welcome break from the monotony of leafless trees, heavy jackets and gloomy darkness of evenings. The sight of colourful chrysanthemums, roses and marigolds in the gardens and parks, kids in colorful clothes enjoying the rides and ice creams makes you swell with joy.
Undoubtedly, spring is the season of all things happy and bright. As a child, it used to mean juicy mangoes, cool shakes and long summer vacation ahead!
within a month, the season of diarrhea, malaria, dengue, hepatitis and typhoid sets in. Being a paediatrician, I see many such cases each season and its painful to see parents and kids losing their precious time to sickness. These little angels do not like restraint so its on us, the parents, to modify our ways to keep our munchkins healthy.
Being a mother of two toddlers, I dread these illnesses every year. Here are 5 super amazing ways to welcome summers the healthy way,
- Eating out: With long evenings and summer vacation, its impossible to avoid eating out. Especially, the short outings for an ice cream or a pizza become quite common. At the same time, the fear of food borne diseases starts creeping in our minds.
So, I treat them to these delicacies at home. A serving of homemade ice cream or kulfi almost twice a week in the evening, a helping of burger or pizza once in a week or two reduces their demand for dining out.
And still if they wish to go out on the weekend, we prefer a fine dining restaurant with a good turnover and order most commonly ordered food items , in a bid to make sure that it is fresh. Avoid raw fruits, salads and milk products, as they get spoilt more easily. Cooking kills many germs.
I am not against street food vendors , but in our country, these poor souls do not have access to and knowledge of clean toilets and handwashing. Dear moms, however yummy those golgappas and burgers might be, they are laden with bacteria and viruses to make your li’l ones sick. Hence, leave them for the winters when germs are also feeling too cold to hit you.
An eating joint which has no access to washroom for the cook and waiters can not serve hygienic food.
Carry a paper soap and a bottle of water to ensure their hands are clean before eating.
2. Vaccination: On the top of everything, we can get our babies vaccinated against hepatitis A and typhoid. These are two food borne infections which can complicate very easily, if not treated in time.
Both these vaccines are available as a single shot for lifetime immunity.
Typhoid vaccine can be given at any age beyond 9months. Your baby is eligible for Hepatitis A (a type of jaundice that spreads through food) vaccine after her first birthday. Each of them costs less than 2000 bucks. And, gives you peace of mind worth millions!
Now if they have a fever or loosies at all, you can rest assured that most likely it’s a transient viral illness or food poisoning and should pass off.
- Hydration: Keep your kids hydrated through the summer scorch. Encourage them to drink 6-8 glasses of filtered water in a day. Lemon water and coconut water are good alternatives. Avoid Glucon D, store brought juices and energy drinks. They don’t offer any help other than raising blood sugar levels.
At the onset of vomiting or diarrhea, start giving them ORS to ensure quicker recovery.
If you don’t have ORS at home , don’t fret! Here is the quick solution:
Dissolve one tablespoon sugar and a pinch of salt in a glass of water. This “home made hydration formula” prevents dehydration until you seek help of a doc .
4. Balanced diet: Summer is the season of yummy, juicy fruits. Water melons, musk melons, mangoes, litchis, plums, peaches and jamuns are abundant. Serve them as shakes , fruit salads and fruit ice creams in evening.
Simply slice the water melons and put them in ice trays. Freeze for 6 hours and voila! Your fruit popsicle is ready. 100% natural!!
Yoghurt and buttermilk are good for a healthy gut.
A handful of soaked almonds in the morning provide essential anti-oxidants.
Be the role models to your kiddos. Eat a balanced diet rich in dal, yoghurt, seasonal vegetables and fruits. And, they are sure to follow suit. Here is a complete guide to healthy meal plans for kids.
- Outdoor activities: You can’t tell these powerhouses of energy to stay indoors all the time, But this heat and mosquitoes deter us all the time. Put on light full sleeves, liberally use odomos, give them lots of fluids to drink. 3-4 servings of fruits and vegetables to boost their immunity and we should be good to go.
Do a bit of community service for your own safety – do not let the water to stagnate around, press municipality people for regular sprays around your locality and avoid littering around.
If there are cases of dengue or malaria in your neighborhood, do consult your doc at the onset of fever – it might not be simple viral.
This time, due to second wave of COVID many kids are stuck indoors and missing out on summer fun. You can take them out early in morning or late in the evening when there are a fewer people around. Risk of COVID is more with indoor crowding as compared to playing outdoors with a few people around. Terrace and balconies are good places to chill out carefree in the cool, breezy evenings.
Make sure to get our senior citizens vaccinated against COVID to reduce the risk.
So dear moms the list is endless but I hope these few things might help you with healthier and happier summers. Happy summer holidays!