Learn to tackle common childhood illnesses with practical and easy home remedies.
By Dr. A Kannan
All children fall ill one time or another, some more so than others. Childhood illnesses are disconcerting for parents, with many of them spending sleepless nights worrying about the health of their loved one.
Common health issues among children include diarrhea, fever, vomiting, and upper respiratory infections. Immunity of children, especially of those below five years, is not yet fully developed, making it easy for them to fall prey to a variety of infections caused by germs, bacteria and viruses. When that happens, it’s always good to supplement medication with home remedies and precautions for faster healing.
Here are some home remedies that will be useful the next time your child falls sick:
Regularly wash the child’s hands.
Encourage the child to drink plenty of water.
Increase fibre in the child’s diet.
Give starch-rich food to the child.
Encourage the child to eat six small meals throughout the day.
Don’t give the child sports drinks, soft drinks or juices.
If the baby develops skin irritation or diaper rash, change their diaper and use warm water to clean them.
Encourage the child to drink more fluids.
Make ice pops or ice cubes from oral rehydration solution or drinks containing electrolytes, and offer them to the child to suck.
Limit exposure to elements that trigger vomiting in the child, such as smoke or heat.
Feed the child rice water, which contains starch from white rice.
Keep the child comfortable. Make sure they are not overdressed, as wearing more clothes than necessary can cause body temperature to rise further.
Do tepid sponging of the child’s body with lukewarm water at about 30˚C (never use ice water).
Offer plenty of water and fluids.
Keep the child away from ice cream and yoghurt, candy bars, hot chocolate, and caffeinated beverages which contribute towards dehydration.
In warm weather, use a fan to circulate air in the room and keep the window open for fresh air.
Upper Respiratory Infection
Moist warm air can help soothe the oral and nasal passages.
Breathing steamed air will help.
Offer the child warm beverages like warm milk, hot chocolate and hot tea.
Use a vaporiser to balance humidity in the room.
Nasal saline drops relieve symptoms of nasal congestion.
Apply a warm pack to the child’s face.
Ensure adequate hydration for the child.
Ensure limited exposure to things which aggravate cough such as cold weather, dust and pollution.
Making the child sleep in a semi-upright position will help.
Raw honey is a good remedy for cough due to its anti-microbial properties.
(The writer is HOD–Paediatrics and Neonatology with Meenakshi Mission Hospital, Madurai.)