Common Illnesses and Skin Conditions to watch out for During the Monsoons
The humid, damp weather presents the perfect conditions for bacteria and infection to thrive, making the monsoon a tough time for parents as the risk of illness and disease increase. Here are the common illnesses and skin conditions to watch out for in your children when the rain comes pouring down.
This condition is visible through a pink or red rash that is itchy, usually present in places on the body where sweat accumulates such as folds of the skin. To avoid it or help ease discomfort, make sure that your baby or child remains cool and does not sweat excessively or over long periods of time. Calamine lotion can help soothe a prickly heat rash, however, if it is severe, it is advisable to see a doctor.
This occurs in the nappy area and has a red appearance. Change your baby’s diaper regularly to prevent the area from being damp for long periods - this can help prevent the onset of nappy rash. Allowing your baby to remain without their nappy for a few hours each day can also be helpful to avoid moisture from accumulating in the diaper area. Usually, this type of rash clears in a few days, however, it can get more serious if it manifests into a fungal infection (large red patches) or bacterial infection (yellow patches or pus boils), in which case you will need to consult a pediatrician for appropriate treatment.
When the humidity is high, fungal infections tend to be more common and severe than in drier seasons. Fungal infections often occur in areas of the body where sweat accumulates such as the feet, scalp and groin or nappy area. Make sure that your child remains clean and dry as far as possible and keep an eye out for symptoms of ringworm, which occurs as a circular rash that is red and itchy.
The monsoon is the time when water-borne infections reach a high as contaminated water can easily make its way into our food and drink. Give children filtered and boiled water from home or bottled water and avoiding outside sources such as at restaurants. Watch out for symptoms of gastroenteritis in children like pain in the abdomen, vomiting, fever, body aches, diarrhoea and appetite loss. Call your doctor if you suspect your child has caught a stomach bug and don’t forget to keep them well-hydrated.
Babies can be particularly affected by viral infections as their immune systems are not mature enough to adequately fight off diseases. However, babies who are breastfed have a better rate of fighting against viruses as they are given protection by the antibodies passed on from their mothers through breast milk. Symptoms of viral infection include cough, cold and fever. Although there will be no medicine to “cure” the infection, there are ways and medications to ease the symptoms until the illness has passed, which a doctor can help with.
Dengue, Malaria and Chikungunya
Protect your baby against mosquito bites, which can cause harmful diseases such as dengue, malaria and chikungunya. Contraction of these illnesses is more common during the monsoons as stagnant water is an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. Use mosquito nets, repellant and covered clothing to reduce the likelihood of your child being bitten. Clear any stagnant water around your home to eliminate the chances of breeding in your living area.
Usually, typhoid does not affect babies who are being exclusively breastfed as they have no means to contract the water-borne bacterial disease. However, if your baby is formula fed, eating solid foods or drinking water, it is possible that they are at risk of ingesting contaminated food, water or drink. Do not give them food or drinks that have been handled by outsiders and carry your own supply of snacks and water when heading out. If they exhibit typhoid symptoms, such as fever of 100.4 degrees F or more, stomach pain, headache, diarrhoea or constipation or spots on their chest, contact your doctor, who will likely prescribe a course of antibiotics.
This is also a bacterial infection that is water-borne. Symptoms include coughing, pain in the chest and blood in saliva. Leptospirosis is a serious disease that can lead to a host of complications such as meningitis, jaundice, liver damage and renal failure. It’s important to immediately contact a doctor if your child shows symptoms of having contracted the illness.
Remember that many illnesses can be avoided through proper and timely immunization. Taking this step is crucial in keeping your child healthy and free from harmful yet preventable diseases all year round. Check with your doctor about whether your child is on track for their vaccines and ask them about additional measures you can take to keep them safe and well.