Summer is the time when all of us are more vulnerable to stomach troubles like loose motions, vomiting and fever, which are all signs of stomach infections. Such infections could be caused by drinking water or juices or eating food from outside sources (which may not have been prepared in hygienic conditions). It can also be due to others who may have got the infection.Prevention: The best way to prevent summer infections is to avoid eating outside food, especially from street vendors. While the local chaatwaala may serve tempting food, it is best to eat only from hygienic stalls. Water is the most common carrier of infections, so it is best to drink bottled water or simply carry water from home.
Another way to prevent frequent infections is by eating healthy food at home to build stronger immunity. Go easy on chips and other packaged foods.
Children should also not be given chilled water as it severely affects their tonsils. If they want cold water, dilute refrigerated water with room temperature water to a proportion of at least 50 per cent.
Similarly, sour foods should be avoided. Kids also tend to catch a chill from high air conditioning, so keep the air conditioner at a comfortable temperature. The way out: The simplest way to avoid ailments this summer is by keeping yourself and the kids hydrated. The importance of hydration is grossly underestimated. Even when parents bring their sick child to the hospital, hydrating the child could have prevented most ailments. Most people are unaware that diarrhoea can be treated by giving ORS (a mixture of salt, sugar and water) to the child. Younger kids can easily slip into unconsciousness if too much water and electrolytes are lost from their body in the heat.
Unfortunately most people neglect the benefits of hydration and believe that medicines are the best way to tackle it.
In case of babies, it is important to continue feeding mother’s milk. For older children, foods like rice gruel, mung dal gruel, coconut water and mashed steamed apple is advisable.
Dilute homemade fruit juice with 60 per cent water to make it easily digestible, otherwise the high concentration of fructose in the juice can worsen the diarrhoea.
It is also important to know that in case of fever, sponging your child’s forehead with room temperature water will put him or her at ease.
While medication plays its role effectively, it is also important to complement it with good care to nurse the child back to health.
Summer spells vacation time for all of us, therefore it very important to take preventive care to avoid falling ill and ruining the good times.
From HT Brunch, April 29
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