You Need These Tips To Keep Your Kids Safe This Summer

Summer is here and temperatures are rising. We may be stuck indoors but that doesn’t mean the heat is not getting to all of us. Use these tips to keep your family healthy & safe this summer.
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A couple of nights ago I was woken up in midst of deep slumber by my son. He was standing there with his hand and face smeared with blood. It was quite a sight to wake up to. He was obviously having a nosebleed. And with that and the temperature widget screaming at 40° C, I knew summer was here, big time! The nosebleeds continued all through his school day well into the night.

Summer is here to stay and it brings with it a host of health issues which are especially hard on kids. As much as we would like to confine them indoors. that’s just not possible. Here we look at how you can protect your kids from conditions like dehydration, diaper rash, nosebleeds, etc that arise during these summer months.

Dehydration

Dehydration occurs mostly due to exposure to high temperatures, direct sun, and high humidity, without enough rest and fluid intake. Children face a much greater risk of dehydration and heat-related illness. You need to be extremely careful where babies/toddlers are concerned. Since most babies/toddlers are in diapers all day, you can never gauge the amount they pee. The chances of these little ones getting dehydrated are quite high so keep a watch during the hot summer months.

Signs of dehydration to watch out for

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry lips and tongue
  • Cramps in arms and legs
  • Decrease in the number of times they pee or discolouration of urine
  • Diarrhoea
  • Cold or dry skin
  • No tears when they cry

What you should do:

Thirst is not a sign of dehydration. By the time kids start feeling thirsty, they might already be dehydrated. Make sure they take fluids throughout the day. Water, coconut water (nariyal pani), nimbu pani, aam panna, fresh juice, lassi and chaas are some of the things they should drink through the day. If they have diarrhoea, give them ORS sachets. You could also mix salt and sugar with water and get them to sip it throughout the day. Remember the Electoral powder which our mothers made us drink? This is the same thing, just made at home. These will keep them rehydrated and keep the salt levels up despite the sweat.

Sunburn

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People confuse sunburn with a suntan. Kids have very thin and sensitive skin. When they are exposed to the strong UV rays of the sun, in the swimming pool or out playing in the garden, they could develop painful angry red little blisters. This means that their tender skin has been burnt by the harsh sun rays.

What should you do:

I use aloe vera gel if any of my kids get sunburnt. It’s extremely cooling and helps soothe the burning skin. You can also use ice over the sensitive area for short periods and avoid sending the kids out to play between 10 AM and 4 PM. The sun’s rays are the strongest at this time and always put sunscreen on them when they get out of the house.

Nosebleeds

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Contrary to what people think, nosebleeds are mostly caused due to dry air and not actual heat. A dry climate or heated indoor air or an air-conditioned environment irritates and dries the nose lining. This causes crusts that may itch and then bleed when scratched or picked. Common colds also can irritate the lining of the nose, since the kids blow their nose often. This also leads to nose bleeding.

What should you do:

If your child is having a nosebleed, don’t panic. Make him/her sit up and tilt the head back. Pinch the soft nostril area for about 5-10 minutes. This pressure will help the bleeding stop. Keep a tissue near the nose to prevent any blood from dripping onto your child. If your child is prone to nosebleeds, you should keep the nasal area moist by dabbing petroleum jelly around the nostril area. I normally use coconut oil or ghee to keep my son’s nose moist, at least twice a day. Just put one or two drops on an earbud and gently swab a little inside the nostril and outside around the rims. Also, make sure your child doesn’t pick his/her nose.

Eye Infections

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Eye allergies, conjunctivitis, styes and dry eyes are also problems that children and adults develop in summer. The dry heat combined with allergens (like pollen) in the atmosphere cause the eyelids to get infected. Kids have the habit of constantly rubbing their eyes or touching their eyes for some reason and this increases the risk of conditions like conjunctivitis and styes. These are bacterial infection breakouts. Since it is quite contagious, make sure your child stays away from other children.

What should you do:

Teach your kids to wash their hands often, especially when they come back from playing or have been to the loo. And make sure you also wash your hands when you finish cleaning your child’s eye. Keep and wash towels and clothes separately until the infection has passed.

Diaper Rash/ Fungal Infection

Indian summers are known for the extreme weather conditions – ranging from extremely dry heat to severe humidity. In older kids, since they sweat so much when they’re out playing,  they could develop a fungal infection in areas like the underarms, groin, between the toes and body creases which don’t get much air time. The child will experience constant itching and redness. In babies, they could develop diaper rash. They also sweat, couple that with a wet diaper and sensitive bottoms – a recipe for a rash breakout for sure

What should you do:

For the older kids use powder to help keep these areas dry and sweat-free. For the little ones, change the baby as often as possible in the summer. I know we’re all conscientious mums who are aware of this, but sometimes we get caught with other things and forget that the little one needs to be changed often during the summer. If your baby develops a diaper rash, the best medicine is air. The baby is happy being naked and free and so are his/her bottoms. You can use coconut oil as a salve or a diaper rash cream to soothe the red itchy bottoms.

Loss of Appetite

Has your child become picky and moody overnight? It could be the heat playing up or that your child is going through a growth slump. Even adults face the same problem of loss of appetite in the summer.

What should you do:

Try breaking the meals down into smaller meals and space it throughout the day. That way the kids will at least not get put off looking at the amount of food on their plate. Get them to tell you what they would like to eat, as long as it’s healthy. Keeping them hydrated at this time is key.

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