Islamabad - A Child specialist on Thursday advised parents to protect their children from water-borne and airborne diseases during the onset of monsoon season due to unhygienic conditions, and not adhering to basic preventive measures. “Rain increases humidity levels and at the same time triggers change in temperatures which favours the growth of virus and bacteria. Usually, people with a weak immune system fall prey to microbes present in the air during monsoon,” senior consultant and Child specialist Dr Huma Baki talking to private news channel said.

With the monsoon, we witness a jump in the number of cases of food- and water-borne infections. Amongst all, diarrhoea is the most common. While infants are always prone to gastrointestinal diseases, their vulnerability towards the infections grows during the months of June to August, she added.  Common infections among babies during monsoon are caused by low immunity, mosquitoes and fungal diseases. Low immunity levels make the babies (0-12 months) greatly vulnerable to all kinds of diseases and skin infections. Stomach flu or gastroenteritis is one of the most common infections seen in babies, she explained.

 “When feeding children, parents tend to give them regular water at restaurants, for instance, ignorant of the fact that it may be infected. Sometimes, even if the establishment vouches for the water, it may get infected just during the journey from the kitchen to the table. Since children who are young do not have a strong immune system, it is important to give them boiled water or RO-purified water”, she recommended. Also, food should be fresh and strictly home-cooked and hygienic to avoid infection,” added the doctor. Gastrointestinal disorders in children are often indicated by symptoms such as stomach ache, fever, loose stool, body ache, and vomiting. Children who are exclusively being fed with breast milk are at a lower risk of catching such infections, compared to children fed on formula food, she highlighted. “Parents must wash their hands for 30 seconds before attending to their infants, they must ensure that fruits and vegetables are washed properly before feeding. Children should be strictly given purified or boiled water.

 

Since contaminated food and water are the only source of these diseases, improved eating habits and maintaining hygiene can prevent them,” suggested Dr.

Apart from eating healthy and staying fit, she also stressed on the need to keep the surroundings clean. She said, “It is very important that there is no filth lying around. Care should be taken to ensure that no water is accumulated around the house, in empty pots, air-coolers and tyres. There should be proper air circulation and sunlight in homes to eliminate any dampness which may lead to microbes.”

 “Children should be given boiled water and it should be ensured that they don’t eat anything from roadside or even hotels. Their clothes must be washed in antiseptic liquid to kill the diseases spreading germs. Also, mothers who are breast-feeding should take care of their diet,” she said. She concluded that it’s therefore important for people to maintain good hygiene, and seek medical help in case of any unusual symptoms.