There are few things worse than a miserable, sick child. And, based on the many messages we’ve been getting, gastroenteritis seems to be sweeping Mzansi this summer.
Sigh. As if juggling the back-to-school frenzy and trying to find your feet in the New Year was not enough…
Gastroenteritis can be managed with a little fluid and some home remedies, believes Lwandlekazi Buthelezi from Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal. However, this summer proved a little more difficult for the 32-year-old mother’s toddler.
“For the first time in two years my daughter was admitted to hospital because of a tummy bug. We had the same problem in December, but fortunately managed to treat it here at home. The one thing I do consistently is to keep her hydrated with water, avoid sweets and I keep a bottle of Crèche Guard.”
Boost your baby’s immune system
It’s critical to boost your babies’ and toddlers’ immune systems through the normal health hiccups that come with weather changes, advises clinical dietitian Nadia Jansen van Rensburg, the co-founder of Rooted Natural.
Those pesky bugs will always creep up on you but a healthy, balanced diet can lessen the severity and duration of symptoms.
“Ideally, a balanced intake should include the ‘five a day’, two fruits, with the rest being vegetable portions. It’s important to include adequate protein, healthy fats, fluids and fibre to ensure a healthy gut microbiome. Include fresh, seasonal foods to boost immunity when you can. Try to keep foods healthy, but also fun!”
You already know what to do so, “Go with your gut!” says Van Rensburg.
5 tips to boost your little one
Keep cool with a bath: When it’s warm and humid, a lukewarm bath is a lovely way to cool your baby or toddler down, she says. Pick a gentle moderate temperature, add some bubbles and a toy or two, and you’re good to go.
Keep it seasonal: “It can be great to introduce your child to a range of seasonal foods to boost immunity,” she says. All-year round options include bananas and pears. Summer fruits comprise things like avocado, mango, pineapple and grapes. Winter delights could be berries, strawberries, oranges and naartjies.“
Keep immunisations up to date: Proper immunisations are one of the best ways to protect your child from dangerous diseases that can cause serious harm and have long-term ramifications. Keep your little one’s vaccination sheet up to date for their age and stage.
Protect soft baby skin: When it’s hot, change your baby or toddler’s nappy often to avoid a rash. The combination of sweat and moisture can up an infant’s chance of getting nappy rash and prickly heat sensations. If a little one has dry skin, consider skipping the daily bath every so often.
Keep clothing cool: When the weather changes and the sun starts shining, it’s important to keep kiddies comfortable in light, breathable fabrics. Opt for layers, so you can dress up or down as appropriate. Remember to carry changes of clothes, especially for puddle and mud-loving littles.