With the onset of the monsoon, there is a significant spike in the cases of respiratory infections, swine, flu and mosquito-borne infections such as dengue and malaria in children.  The change in weather is perfect for viral infections to spread in children. Parents should consult the doctor on an immediate basis if the child exhibits signs such as high fever, dehydration, tiredness, nausea and vomiting, body pain, rashes, cough and cold. To prevent respiratory infections and monsoon diseases such as dengue and malaria, the child should eat a protein-rich diet and take multivitamins to boost immunity and maintain hand hygiene.

The monsoon gives a respite from the scorching heat but also sets a stage for various respiratory infections and monsoon diseases including dengue and malaria. Parents are queuing up in the hospitals as their children are falling sick. 

“Respiratory infections, dengue, and malaria are giving a tough time to children,” informs Dr Jagdish Kathwate, Consultant Neonatologist & Paediatrician, Motherhood Hospital Kharadi Pune.

On a daily basis, out of 30-35 patients, 15 have respiratory infections such as cough, cold and fever, and 5 are impacted with monsoon-related diseases like dengue and malaria. Now, the risk of respiratory infections has increased further after schools reopen. Mosquito breeding in the stagnated water during monsoon is the reason behind dengue and malaria infections. There is also a surge in cases of swine flu.

Parents are bringing children to the hospital with complaints of fever lasting for 3 days after which dengue or swine flu is suspected. Some children may also have leg or body pain and rashes over the body which indicate the possibility of dengue. Children with respiratory infections have coughs, colds, and fever that refuse to settle down. These patients will require blood tests to confirm dengue and malaria infection and initiate timely treatment. Those babies who are dehydrated have dengue or swine flu (a severe respiratory infection) and will also require hospital admissions. Timely management of these infections is key to improving the child’s health.

He added, “After hospital admission, it will take around 5 days for the child’s overall recovery. Basic supportive treatment for dengue including IV fluids and saline, antibiotics or antiviral (if required) will be prescribed to the children. In 5 cases of dengue seen per day, 3 kids recover on an OPD basis and 2 kids (who are infants less than one year old) may require hospital admission. These infants also have the risk of suffering from severe dengue or involvement of other vital organs. If the babies are under one year old, they will require hospital admission as they don’t drink enough water, oral rehydration solution (ORS) and other liquids and get easily dehydrated.

Moreover, they also have kidney problems due to decreased urination due to dehydration. Some infants with dengue also develop fluid inside the body that causes swelling and the blood pressure drops which is a matter of concern. Babies as young as 6 months old to around 4-5 years of age are experiencing respiratory infections, dengue fever, and malaria as they have started stepping out of the house. Many toddlers in the schools catch infection and pass it on to their siblings. Safeguarding children from these fatal infections is crucial for improving their overall well-being.”

It is imperative to avert respiratory infections or dengue as they can occur again. “Avoid water stagnation in or near the hose and even around the society. Safeguard the child from mosquito bites by using mosquito nets, closing the windows of the house in the evening, and eliminating any breeding sources of mosquitoes.  To stay safe from acquiring respiratory infections, children shouldn’t touch their eyes, nose, and mouth, maintain good hand hygiene, and eat a diet consisting of protein and fruits. As immunity takes a hit after the infection, the child will be advised multivitamins to stay healthy,” he highlights.

Children can eat dal chilla, eggs, or chicken to fulfill the daily protein intake to boost immunity. The chances of typhoid are high due to contaminated food and water, children should stay away from outside food. Give boiled water to kids below one, who are regularly getting sick. Don`t send the child to the school if he/she is sick as these infections can spread to other children.

Further, Dr Jeetendra Gandhi, Pediatrician, Apollo Spectra Pune informs that “Every day, at least 2-3 patients aged 2 to 12 years come for treatment with similar symptoms. Those children infected with dengue and malaria may exhibit symptoms such as high-grade fever with chills, rash, muscle pain, headache, eye pain or related complaints.”

Parents shouldn’t delay treatment in children by labeling the symptoms as a result of seasonal change. Take charge of the child’s health and visit the doctor who will decide an appropriate line of treatment based on the symptoms and the type of infection.  To avoid dengue and malaria, children should wear full-sleeved clothes, use mosquito repellents, eat well, choose safe play areas, and stay away from mosquito breeding spots. Parents should empty tins, cans, containers, and flower pots that are breeding spaces for mosquitoes and keep the home clean,” concluded