Many of us have fond memories of the rains from our growing up years -- impromptu holidays from school, splashing about in muddy puddles, or maybe simply getting wet in a pouring shower. Like you, your little one will love the rains, the fresh new leaves on the trees, the smell of the damp wet ground, and perhaps a little scared of the thunder and lightning which accompany the rain many a time. But with all the joyous moments, the rainy season also brings with it humid weather, flooded roads, mosquitoes, diseases, and lots more. With a little care and forethought you can let your child enjoy this beautiful season and also keep him safe from illnesses.Common illnesses during rainy season
This is the time when contagious diseases are on the rise. Your child is especially vulnerable to infections because he is still developing his immune system.
Viral infections usually spread when the rains come. In the Philippines, common diseases associated with the rainy season also include diarrheal diseases, dengue, leptospirosis, and respiratory illnesses. Some simple precautions can go a long way in keeping your family healthy during the rainy season.
Avoid dengue by cleaning or throwing away all potential breeding ground for mosquitoes, especially the Aedes Aegypti, which is the kind of mosquito that carries the dengue virus. Make sure that your barangay or neighborhood makes a concerted effort towards proper garbage disposal, as well as keeping canals clean, with water running through them. Otherwise mosquitoes can breed in the stagnant waters.
Ensure that you and your family avoid close contact with someone who is suffering from a viral infection or conjunctivitis. Children are especially vulnerable to weather changes and infections, so keep them at home for a few days if you know that their playmates are suffering from an illness. Cut their nails regularly and do not allow them to put their hands into their mouths. Make sure they wash their hands with soap before eating anything and after visiting the toilet.
Flooding, which commonly occurs during the rainy season, can contaminate water sources. Thus, ensure safety of your drinking water by boiling it to avoid diarrhea.
Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing. Practice frequent handwashing with soap and water. Avoid crowded places where transmission of infection is highly probable.
Discourage playing and walking in flood waters to avoid leptospirosis. This bacterial infection causes enlargement of the spleen, jaundice, and nephritis. The infection is usually transmitted by exposure of unhealed blisters and open wounds to water contaminated with animal urine.
Health care during rainy season
There are common misconceptions to avoid when it comes to keeping healthy.
These will not avert a cold: wearing warm clothing, avoiding cold drafts, applying body warming oil, waiting for your wet hair to dry before going out, doubling the dose of Vitamin C (it is further recommended to eat the whole fruit, rather than take a vitamin as one’s source of vitamin C).
Instead stick to more reliable practices, such as regular handwashing with soap and water, sneezing or coughing onto a cloth or tissue that you dispose of as soon after use, keeping hands away from the eyes and mouth, avoiding crowded places, adequate hydration and a balanced diet.
Also, try not to depend on diet and health supplements -- many of which are advertised with claims of helping the body ward off infections during the rainy season when viruses spread. While some may have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, many are likely to not be formulated for children. It is possible that these supplements do not pose an actual risk, but their preventive, or therapeutic, value against infections is not well-substantiated. It is best to discuss the use of these supplements with your doctor, especially if you plan to use them on your child. Always remember that supplements can never substitute for a well-balanced diet -- which is what we want our kids to get accustomed to.