Protect your child from swine flu : The recent swine flu epidemic has claimed lives and wrecked normalcy across the nation. While this deadly virus has made it difficult for even healthy adults to defy the attack, infants, toddlers and children are more at risk given their low immunity levels as compared to adults.
‘The best way to fight swine flu and keep your baby safe is to boost your little one’s immunity and maintain good hygiene practices,’ says Dr Geetanjali Shah, pediatrician attached to Supraja Foundation and Ashvini IVF center, Mumbai. Here she doles out some handy, easy tips for parents to save their child from a bout of seasonal flu.
1. Maintain proper hygiene:
By now everyone knows that washing hands before and after meals, coming back from outdoors or after touching unclean objects can help keep off viral infections to some extent. But with babies and children, parents need to be more vigilant. ‘Children below five years of age might have a tendency to put their fingers into their mouth or nose. These are the two paths through which the virus can enter the body.
Hence, it is imperative that one ensures to clean the child’s hand with utmost care. Remember to rub the soap solution into your child’s palm for at least 30 seconds to ensure that even the last of the traces of dirt and grime are rubbed of it,’ says Dr Shah. Teach them to follow the same rule with hand washing at school too. Ask your child to rub soap into the palms till the count of 10.
2. Clean and sanitise baby essentials:
One thing parents forget to do is sanitise essential baby items before using them. ‘Parents should know that even after following good hygiene practises, children could pick up a viral infection by using unclean objects. Hence, if you have a toddler at home, ensure that you keep your door knobs, table tops, sides of your bed and furniture clean, as they would hold on to them while taking little steps. Also, make sure to wash all the toys in bleaching powder solution to keep them toxin free. Don’t forget the teethers, wash them with warm water before offering them to your little one. Remember, you need to keep changing your bed sheets and wash your curtains regularly when you have children at home. These little practises go a long way in keeping your baby safe from viral infections,’ explains Dr Shah.
3. Keep nasal area clean:
While washing hands and sanitising essential items can help to some extent, it is important to keep the nasal area clean, as it is the most sensitive area from where the virus can be breathed into the system to cause an illness. ‘Every time your child returns from school or after playing outdoors wipe the lower part of the nose with a cloth dipped in warm water. Take special care to clean the insides of the nose, the hairy area where the virus can be clogged,’ informs Dr Shah.
4. Eat more vitamins:
Having foods rich in Vitamin A and C can help to keep your child safe from a bout of viral attack. So encourage your child to have more citrus fruits like oranges, sweet lime, gooseberry, strawberry to get enough Vitamin C. Include coloured vegetables like carrots, peppers, pumpkin, sweet potato and beetroot in your diet for a fair share of Vitamin A. ‘Alternatively, one can also try vitamin C drops to compensate for the lack in diet. However, it is best to stick to natural foods,’ says Dr Shah.
5. Load up on zinc:
Zinc is an important nutrient used to boost immunity and keep children off seasonal flu and other illness. ‘Prescribed zinc supplements should be given to your child and include foods rich in zinc like cereals, nuts, pumpkin and squash seeds, mushrooms and sesame seeds,’ says Dr Shah.
Home remedies to improve immunity
To keep your child safe from swine flu it is imperative to improve your child’s immunity. Here are some simple try-at-home tips to improve your child’s immunity:
6. Give steam treatment:
‘This can be tried on teens and pre-teens as they would be better at handling the treatment than infants and toddlers. Add one spoonful of neem powder to a bowl of boiled water that is still hot. Allow your child to take the steam keeping the head covered with a towel. This will ensure that the nasopharynx (area from the nasal passage to the throat) is cleared and free of build-up toxins,’ informs Dr Shah.
7. Try homemade kadhas:
‘A homemade concoction of neem leaves,tulsi leaves, haldi and mulethi along with few olives and pepper powder works to be an excellent immunity booster for children of all age,’ mentions Dr Shah.
8. Practice yoga:
Yoga can do wonders, even for children. ‘I ask the parents of my patients to help their child learn jalneti, else doing prananyam will also help,’ says Dr Shah.
9. Ensure proper ventilation:
While staying indoors is fine to fight the attack of the virus, remember proper ventilation is what will help you be in a clean and safe environment, though it is thought otherwise. ‘At least keep your doors and windows open for three to four hours a day to ensure proper ventilation, even if you are accustomed to living in AC rooms,’ says Dr Shah.
10. Try herbal tea:
Herbal teas go a long way in building immunity in children. ‘Try a brew made with few cloves of garlic. This is an excellent home remedy to boost immunity in both adults and children,’ says Dr Shah.
‘Ask your child to chew on a mix of few neem leaves with half-teaspoon of aloe vera pulp before leaving the house to increase immunity and resistance to virus attack,’ says Dr shah.
Protect your child from swine flu
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