After the oppressive Indian summer, the monsoons bring relief but it also brings an increase in mosquito-borne diseases like dengue, malaria and chikungunya fever. Children and infants are particularly at risk since kids play outside and infants cannot fend off insects on their own.
It is crucial to establish a routine to protect your newborn from dengue, malaria and chikungunya fever. Prevention methods like coils and aerosol bug sprays may be effective in warding off mosquitoes but may create further health complications to your little one.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Shaveta Gupta, Head-Content and Community at Mylo, recommended the following preventive measures to effectively and safely shelter your child from dengue and other mosquito-borne illnesses this rainy season:
1. Proper clothing – It is important to dress your baby in loose cotton clothing that covers their arms and legs to keep mosquitoes at bay but still allow for air exposure to the skin during the humid monsoon month.
2. Using mosquito repellents made with natural ingredients – Mosquito repellents work wonders towards keeping mosquitoes away from your child. However, you have to be careful and vigilant towards the ingredients they contain. DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) is a chemical agent that is very effective in staving off insects. However in large doses it can lead to adverse side effects like blisters, seizures, memory loss and shortness of breath. Use repellents that are DEET Free and made out of ingredients such as lemongrass, citronella, eucalyptus and lavender to keep your child safe. Using mosquito patches is also an effective method to keep young infants safe from mosquitoes. Patches with essential oils can be placed in clothing, cribs, beds and strollers to ensure your child is always protected from mosquito bites.
3. Avoid stagnant water – Ensure cleanliness at home and do not leave any stagnant water in pots, pans, water trays of ACs and plant pots; even buckets of water in washrooms. Do also watch out for leaky pipes and faucets. Still water creates a breeding ground for mosquitoes and could create a swarm of insects right in your house.
4. Mosquito nets – Cover your baby’s stroller, carrier or crib with a mosquito net so that it creates a physical barrier between the baby and mosquitoes/insects but still allows for smooth passage of air. Use netting both indoors and outdoors to significantly limit their exposure to mosquitoes.
5. Watch out for symptoms of fever – It’s important to keep track of symptoms to provide proper treatment on time in case your child does contract Dengue. Fever, nausea and vomiting, headaches, dryness of mouth, decreased urination, rashes and swollen glands are some of the symptoms and should not be avoided. If your child starts exhibiting these symptoms, you should consult your doctor right away.
At this early stage of life, babies are most vulnerable to illnesses and require proper care and attention towards limiting their exposure to insects during the monsoon season. To protect infants under the age of 2 months from mosquitoes and other insects, it is advised to only use protective clothing and bed nets and following the preventive measures outlined above can help safeguard you and your family from dengue fever and other mosquito-borne illnesses.