Caring for Infants
Dr Rahul Nagpal, Director and Head, Department of Pediatrics, Fortis Flt. Lt. Rajan Dhall Hospital, Vasant Kunj
New Delhi , April 15 , 2017 : The common health problems observed in babies during summer or seasonal variations are: dehydration, fever, vomiting, sun stroke, prickly heat, dengue, malaria, chikungunya, insect bites, skin allergies and rashes. Precautions to be adhered to while taking care of babies and infants are:
- Keeping the babies hydrated: Infants who are less than six months need to be frequently breast- fed to keep them hydrated. Mothers need to be hydrated as well so that the breastfeeding is adequate.
- Good Hygiene: When bathing your baby, take special care to wash her neck, underarms and other visible folds in her body. Increasing the number of proper baths or sponge baths will keep her clean and cool. You could add a few drops of eucalyptus oil or neemoil to the bath to naturally disinfect her body. If you use massage oil, make sure to wash it off well during bath.
- Going outdoors: When you go out with your baby, keep her away from crowded places, direct sunlight and hot temperatures, especially the hot dry winds.
- Clothing for infants: Keep your baby cool and comfortable in loose-fitting cotton clothing that lets her skin breathe. If there are mosquitoes in your area then keep your baby’s arms and legs covered with clothes made from light, breathable material such as cotton or linen.
- Home and surroundings: Ventilate your home by keeping windows open, unless the hot dry wind (loo) is blowing. Pest control can also protect your home against all kinds of disease-causing insects, like cockroaches, ants and flies. Use good quality disinfectant to clean your home.
- Protecting babies from common illnesses during the summer:
o Prickly heat rash: A baby’s sweat glands are still developing and so they are more prone to a heat rash than adults. To protect your baby, ensure she is not dressed light. You can use talcum powder on your baby as long as you apply it correctly. Dab it onto your hand away from your baby so that there is no chance of her inhaling any powder. Then apply it to the folds of your baby’s skin.
- Dehydration: If you’re breastfeeding, you don’t need to give your baby extra water in the summer to prevent dehydration. Just feed her every time she asks for it.
- Heat stroke: Ensure your baby isn’t overdressed and that she’s getting enough fluids. Keep her away from direct sunlight and hot winds.
- Viral infections: If anyone in the house has viral, ask them to wash their hands with soap regularly and keep your baby away from them. If your baby does get ill, take her to the doctor. According to her weight, the doctor will prescribe the right dose of paracetamol that will help soothe her aches and help bring down her fever.