Chennai Weather: How To Keep Your Child Safe This Summer
Summer is already here and Chennai is beginning to feel the heat. With summertime giving rise to many heat-related ailments, here are some tips to keep your child safe and healthy during the season.
By V Saravana Kumar
Chennai has always been a ‘hotspot’ when it comes to climate, especially during summer. Owing to its geographical location, the city experiences a very hot and humid summer, with daytime temperatures sometimes reaching 40°C, making it an unbearable time of the year.
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The hot weather prevailing throughout summer also gives rise to various ailments in children. From the ‘not-so-dangerous’ heat rashes to the ‘seriously-threatening’ heat stroke, these conditions are a parent’s nightmare. But, don’t worry. There are certain precautionary measures you can take to keep your child protected from these ailments. Let’s have a look at them here:
- Heat rashes: The intense heat sometimes creates red or pink rashes on the skin which are itchy. They can make your child feel very uncomfortable and irritated. Making your child wear light cotton clothes and encouraging her to play in a shady area will protect her from developing heat rashes.
- Dehydration: This condition is characterised by fatigue, exhaustion, low energy levels, decreased urine output, diarrhoea and dry lips. Give your child plenty of water to drink and fruits that have high water content such as melons, to keep him hydrated.
- Prickly heat: Reddish bumps or blisters on the skin that are itchy and prickly, usually around the neck and armpits, are the symptoms of this condition. To avoid developing prickly heat, make your child take cool showers and apply some prickly heat powder.
- Sunburns: The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays cause tenderness, itching and blistering of the skin. Let your child wear loose-fitting, full-sleeved clothes to avoid exposing her skin to sunlight. She can also use a sunscreen lotion recommended by a doctor, whenever she goes out in the sun.
- Flu: Frequent consumption of refrigerated water might lead to your child catching a cold. It may even ultimately result in him running a temperature. Therefore, prevent your child from drinking ice-cold, refrigerated water; instead, give him water kept in an earthen pot. Make him eat an ample amount of citrus fruits for a rich dose of vitamin C so that his chances of catching a cold are reduced.
- Enterovirus infection: Swallowing of unclean water from a swimming pool or during a theme park ride is one of the main causes of this infection. It is characterised by fever, throat infection, blisters on the skin and general discomfort. Make your child gargle using salt water and give her a lot of fluids to drink.
- Whooping cough: This is a contagious bacterial infection that causes continuous bouts of coughing. Make sure your child has access to clean drinking water (preferably boiled and cooled) to quench his excessive thirst. Also, insist that he gargles using warm water and follows personal hygiene practices like washing hands frequently.
- Measles: A severe viral infection that affects the respiratory tract, measles is characterised by high fever, cold, runny nose, red and watery eyes, and skin rashes. The best way to protect your child from measles is vaccination and following good personal hygiene practices.
- Chickenpox: This highly contagious viral infection causes high fever and skin rashes with red blisters. In addition to vaccination, washing hands frequently and bathing twice during summer helps prevent chickenpox.
- Heat stroke: Direct exposure to sunlight for long hours might cause nausea, dizziness, slurred speech, dry and swollen tongue, and sometimes even loss of consciousness. Keeping your child hydrated with plenty of fluids is the best precaution. Don’t allow him to play under the sun continuously for a long time. If needed, ask him to wear a cap or hat before going out to play, and drink enough fluids during breaks.
Cool tips to beat the Chennai heat:
- Always make sure your child wears loose-fitting cotton clothes that allow air circulation. Say a big ‘No’ to synthetic and tight-fitting clothing.
- Keep your child hydrated throughout the day as it is crucial for her well-being during the summer heat. So, make her drink water at regular intervals. Feed her fluids like lemon-infused water, fresh fruit juice, tender coconut water and buttermilk.
- Discourage your child from drinking chilled water from the refrigerator. Instead, give him water stored in earthen pots.
- Restrict your child’s outdoor playtime to evenings. Let her play under the shade during the daytime to avoid the direct heat of the sunlight. You can come up with some entertaining and enriching indoor fun activities to keep your child engaged during the day.
- Encourage your child to wear sunglasses and hats whenever he ventures out during the day. Choose sunglasses that are certified for UV protection. Cheap sunglasses bought from unauthorised shops might harm your child’s vision.
- Apply a good quality sunscreen on areas of skin exposed to sunlight when your child goes out. Prefer natural ones over those laden with chemicals. Aloe vera gel and calamine lotion also help in protecting your child’s sensitive skin.
- Insist on eating home-cooked food. But, if you have to eat out, choose restaurants having a reputation for maintaining hygiene and cleanliness, in addition to serving good quality food. Strictly avoid eating from roadside joints.
- Make fruits a major part of your child’s diet and prefer them over oily and spicy food. Citrus fruits that are rich in vitamin C play a huge role in controlling dehydration and fatigue.
- Give Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) if you see symptoms of dehydration in your child.
- Plan your outings only during the evenings when the heat subsides and the sea breeze begins to blow.
- Ask your child to use ear plugs, swimming caps and goggles to reduce chances of contracting infections from water while swimming or visiting a water theme park.
- Follow good personal hygiene practices to protect your child from most illnesses. Bathing twice a day, washing hands frequently, keeping hair and nails clean and trimmed, and wearing neat clothes are some healthy habits your child should follow.
- Apply insect repellents to protect your child from the nasty bites of ticks and mosquitoes.
The Chennai heat can sometimes be merciless. So, don’t forget to follow these safety measures to keep your child protected from it and its various adverse effects.
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