Are You Monsoon-ready?
Dear parents, monsoons are a lot of fun for your kids and they bring out the kid in you too. The thought of drenching in the showers, jumping into puddles, splashing water is exciting. Monsoons set the mood for all sorts of holiday fun and sizzling street food right from a cup of garam chai to a steaming plate of pakodas.
While the rain is a great respite from the scorching summers, it also brings with it flus and infections. Fluctuating temperatures and increasing humidity allow infectious bacteria and viruses to thrive in food and water. High humidity also causes the body’s digestive capacity to go down. Children mostly suffer from common cold, viral fever, indigestion or food poisoning, diarrhoea, etc.
With summer vacations at its tail end, this is the time for kids to gear up to resume school with enthusiasm and good immunity.As parents, do you struggle to pack a healthy breakfast or lunch for your tiny tot? Are you armed enough against the odds of this lovely weather?
A little care and rule setting this season can minimise your troubles greatly. Here are some basic precautions and diet modifications to keep you healthy.
What to avoid:
- Roadside food:Chaat, fried food, fruit salads and juices from roadside vendors are left exposed to the air for long. Bacteria and viruses tend to adhere to these items the fastest. The water used is not necessarily safe for consumption. Avoid them as much as possible.
- Pre-cut fruits: Avoid fruits that are cut and left to be served (especially in lunchboxes) because most nutrients are lost. Fruit pieces get oxidised due to prolonged exposure to air.
- Non-seasonal fruits: Fruits such as muskmelons, watermelons and mangoes (summer fruits) should be avoided in the rains as they are common causes of cold and loose motions. Mangoes sold in rains are from old stocks and often infested with worms which are not easily noticeable.
- Seafood:Vendors mostly sell old stocks as monsoon is the breeding season for fish and seafood. So it is best avoided. Stick to eggs, chicken and other meat which is cooked well and can be eaten immediately.
- Dairy & Bakery products:Milk tends to cause nausea as it spoils quickly due to humidity. Milk can be consumed at home immediately after boiling. Avoid cold milk especially milkshakes. Dairy products also must not be opted for, as the rate at which they expire is higher in this season.
- Leafy vegetables: It may sound counter-intuitive as everyone has stressed on their intake enough! But the dampness and grime on them are a happy home to bacteria. Say no to spinach, cabbage & cauliflower.
- Getting wet: Rain water is not necessarily safe due to the high amount of pollutants that retain in the atmosphere. Cold, cough, fevers are common.
While there is a long list to dampen your spirits, there are a host of things you CAN DO to avoid the monsoon demons!
Tips to stay healthy:
Catch the cold before it catches you: Build your child’s immunity with fruits like litchees, jamuns, cherries, peaches, plums which are rich in Vitamin C, potassium and fibre. They not only improve immunity to fight viruses but also aid in digestion.
Healthy snack:Pack a tiffin full of litchees, jamuns, cherries or plums which can be washed and eaten. Litchees can be peeled at school as opposed to eating pre-cut fruits. You could also pack a small tiffin of dry fruits to keep the energy levels high in this gloomy weather.
Washing: All fruits and vegetables should be washed thoroughly. Raw vegetables can be steamed and consumed instead of making salads.
Warm beverages: Hot milk with a pinch of turmeric is highly recommended to keep the flu away. Soups with a dash of pepper, herbs (basil), coriander leaves, ginger and garlicincrease resistance to cold and help digestion too.
Water consumption: Drink boiled or filtered water only. Your child must consume at least 8 to 10 glasses of water a day to avoid dehydration.
Set the room temperature: Keep the house dry and the doors and windows closed by evenings and nights to stay warm in this breezy weather. Avoid air-conditioning to keep running noses and sneezing at bay.
Mommy is the best cook: Although you have to rush to work every morning, eating and packing freshly cooked food for you and your child is of paramount importance.
Extra Clothing, Extra Care: Keep a handkerchief, sweater or scarf in your child’s bag. Protecting ears, nose, neck & chest can save you a lot of trouble.
Rain gear: Don’t judge the day by taking a peak outside every morning. You and your child should have a raincoat or umbrella at ALL times.
Hands: Teach your children to use a sanitizer and also how they must wash their hands and dry them well before opening their tiffins.
‘Shoe’ the infections away: While we do our best to protect our body from the rains, our feet can never be protected enough! Maximum skin infections and odours stem from wearing socks and shoes that have moisture from the previous day. Change your child’s socks every day and buy another pair of school shoes as back up. Wet socks should be washed the same day because the longer they are left unattended, the faster they breed bacteria.
Meals: Eating gourds and adding methi seeds and turmeric to your veg preparations can prevent infections. Have fresh radish juice/ radish soup with rock salt to reduce mucous formation in the chest and sinuses.
Hot showers: Drying off after getting wet is important. However a hot bath after few minutes not only kills germs but also regulates body temperature.
Bacteria-proofing: Mopping the floors with disinfectants and cleaning the shoe rack and shoeswill keep the thriving bacteria away. Using neem leaves in your bath water avoids skin infections. Keep twigs of neem leaves at the windows to repel mosquitos. Using mosquito nets is a good idea too.
Personal hygiene: Washing your hands and feet with soap after entering the house is a good habit. Avoid touching your eyes with bare hands as eye infections are common during rains. Use a handkerchief or splash water.
Parenting is stressful. It takes patience and time to understand what is best for you and your child given the unpredictable weather. Hence, training yourself and your kids with these basic precautions can save you a lot of trouble and actually help you to enjoy the beautiful weather even better. Remember, prevention is better than cure. Here’s wishing you a happy monsoon!
~ Ophelia Lobo
Behavioural Counsellor, GIIS, Chinchwad