Monsoon Maladies

“But doctor I thought the fever was because he had got fully wet in rains and it was 10 minutes before I wiped him.”

Monsoon Maladies - Precautions To Be Taken In Monsoon - Kids And Fever

So went mother of a 4-year-old, who had just been diagnosed with Dengue and I was reprimanding her for not bringing her son in for 4 long days.

Despite practicing through all of 36 years I still get bowled over by such misconceptions parents have w.r.t monsoon and health. With monsoons already on us (at least in Maharashtra) I thought I would take the opportunity to share some tips!

  1. Getting wet in rain does not cause high fever! Getting wet/soaked in rain does not cause fever and definitely not high fever. Look at getting wet in rains for 5-10 minutes as a long shower; will you get high fever after that? Kids spend entire day in water parks and do not get fever. Even if they get fever, it is mild and does not last more than a few hours. Any fever that comes after getting drenched in rain, if high and lasts beyond 24 hours, it’s time to contact your doctor and seek opinion even if your child has remained in rain for 10-15 minutes. You may mention the getting wet fact to the doctor.
  2. If your child has walked through stagnant water – many societies have water logging for days at a stretch – mention it to the doctor; it may help in diagnosis.
  3. Most of us take precautions against mosquito bites after dusk but mosquitoes bite both during day and night; mosquitoes that bite in the day are responsible for Dengue and after dusk for Malaria. Preventing mosquito bites during day time is as important as in the night.
  4. Soup is the best drink you can give to your child whenever they get soaked in rain.
  5. Take good care to keep feet dry (especially webs between toes) as it may lead to fungal infestation and fungus there is tough to cure.
  6. “How can I give curd in rainy season? He will get cold!” Kids get cold because of several reasons, eating curd during rain is not one of them. Any child/adult hospitalised either in a government hospital or a star hospital is given curd daily.
  7. Although it is advised to always steer clear of unhygienic food (uncooked food from roadside – chutneys, etc.) it is more important in monsoons as your lovely ‘bhaiyyaji’ has access only to non-potable water to make chutneys.
  8. Viral fever abounds – increase immunity by generous portions of fruits, veggies and milk/curd.

Precautions to be taken:

  1. Drinking water should be boiled: Once water comes to a full rolling boil, it should be allowed to boil for 10 minutes for it to be free of bacteria, viruses and spores.
  2. All greens, more so the ones that won’t be cooked (coriander/mint) should be soaked in salt water for 10-15 minutes and then washed under running water to remove all biological dirt.

I am sure all parents have some tip to share! Please do…

Dr Chander Asrani, father to three daughters and grand father to one, is a post-graduate in Family Medicine. He has over 35 years in clinical practice, launched www.growingwell.com in 2000 and since then has been writing on various subjects. Know more about him at about.me/drasrani.

  • Dr. Asrani, good that you brought up these. Some other myths I hear as instructions are “Do not give icecream” “Do not give cold water(even when my child is perfectly healthy and when the temperature outside is 35C)” “Do no give Grapes/Banana(as these are cold inducing fruits!!)” .. !!
    It all depends on the metabolism of a person. Some of the body reactions are because of allergies or intolerances, applying that as a rule for everyone is not correct.

    • Absolutely right. Grapes give throat problem as they are not washed properly. Even elders love to pick up 1 from the vendor and pop it in the mouth will all pesticides sprayed on it and come & complain “with 1 grape i got throat trouble”

  • Thank you Dr Asrani. Good tips, will keep them in mind during these monsoons.

  • Thx. 🙂

  • We have so many food related myths. Thanks for blasting some of them. My favorite is the curd one.

    • I know. I tell my patients – “Curd ko kaise maloom ki raat hai ya barish pada hai? Taklif de do!”

  • Dr. Asrani,
    Do you suggest warm clothes in the rainy season? My mother-in-law insists that I put a sweater on my child because it is raining outside? I don’t want to contradict her, but is this really necessary?

    • No. Not at all. Well covered child in monsoon. Sweater in winter. Only if u r in northern states no tru warm clothes. My simple rule of the thumb – whatever you wish the child to do, will you do it urself? I am sure no one will be comfy with warm clothes in monsoon.

      • I thought so… Thanks Dr. Asrani

  • Lakshmi Vasudevan

    Thank you very much Dr. for all these monsoon tips. Kindly respond whether even the drinking water from aqua guard needs to be boiled in monsoon and throughout the year. Also for how long the boiled and well covered drinking water must be stored to prevent further water contamination?