By Rishu Gandhi
In the past few years, environmental factors have become very crucial when it comes to their impact on health, including air pollution or the kind of water consumed. Several epidemiological studies have shown the multiple health related risks associated with the consumption of the hardness of water. Hard water could be understood as water with higher concentration of magnesium ions and calcium. While it affects everyone, it has the maximum impact on new mothers and newborn babies.
Impact of hard water on new mothers
Women during their pregnancy and post-pregnancy are in a fragile state, prone to many kinds of risks. Water, which is a basic necessity, has to be pure and of the utmost quality when it comes to new mothers. Hard water poses a number of risks, having a high disease rate. If consumed, they have to fight against:
There are many studies which have demonstrated the risks attached with the consumption of hard water. It has the potential to lead to various cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, lower mortality rate and low blood pressure.
A good number of studies have shown that higher the levels of calcium and magnesium in water, higher will be the risk of gastric cancer. A few epidemiological studies have also shown the risk of rectal and pancreatic cancer with consumption of hard water.
A significant relation has been shown in hard water drinking and risk of cerebrovascular disease. The risk of strokes and hypertension are huge when someone consumes hard water regularly.
Hard water has been considered as a major source of diabetes. An improper level of magnesium in water can lead to multiple diseases and diabetes is one of the major ones.
Impact on newborn babies
The usage or consumption of hard water is even more hazardous for newborn babies, who have highly sensitive skin and are more vulnerable to diseases than anyone else. It is often considered to be a major cause of atopic dermatitis, also called eczema, among kids. It is an inflammatory, non-contagious and pruritic skin disorder.
If you make your baby bathe with hard water, it is likely for them to develop changes from neutral pH to an acidic pH which can act as a barrier from protecting your baby’s skin.
Hard water has high content of calcium, magnesium and iron which causes dryness of skin, leading to clogged pores, flaking and itching.
It could also lead to blemishes and acne on your baby’s skin.
Steps you must take
We are living in a polluted world and if the area we reside in has a supply of hard water, we certainly cannot leave the area. We have to look for alternate solutions. There are various methods that exist to soften the water and protect your baby’s skin.
The first major solution that exists is the use of a water softener. Under this process, the hard water goes through a resin bed; calcium and magnesium are exchanged for anions like sodium. Salt is used for better results and once the resin is generated, the water is softened and is good to be used. One can also use the process of reverse osmosis to remove the hardness of water.
To avoid skin related problems on your baby’s body, the first thing you should do is to replace soaps with gentle cleansers which are skin-friendly. Hard water has the tendency of reacting with soaps and forming salts which may remain on the skin and pose a threat. Secondly, moisturise your baby’s skin well with natural, ayurvedic oils which can keep the pH level of your baby’s skin balanced. For better hygiene, consider using eco-friendly, biodegradable, alcohol and paraben-free baby products like baby wipes which will help in lessening the scaling and itching and softening the cracks caused by the hard water.
(The writer is Founder & Head-Brand Strategy of Mother Sparsh.)