Rainy season brings not only relief from the summer heat but also the risk of various diseases. When children are especially at higher risk of developing the disease compared to adults, it is important for parents to know how to deal with them. This article aims to highlight common illnesses in the rainy season, specifically the diseases that can affect our little ones, and also delve into how to prevent them.
RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) is a type of virus that causes respiratory disease and is common in children, particularly young children under the age of five. It can infect both the upper and lower respiratory tracts. In Thailand, outbreaks of this virus are most common during the rainy and winter seasons.
Influenza is a common disease among people of all genders and ages and can be found almost throughout the year because Thailand is a tropical country. Even so, it occurs a lot during the rainy season. In some years, you may encounter an outbreak, which is the leading cause of acute fever. Doctors usually diagnose a child with a fever for a few days without other obvious symptoms of influenza, which may sometimes happen to be errors.
Influenza is different from a regular cold in that it causes complications and can be life-threatening. Fever, headache, body and muscle aches, cough, or sore throat are the most common symptoms. People aged 60 and up, as well as those with immunocompromised illnesses, are at risk and experience more severe symptoms than other groups.
Everyone 6 months and older should get an influenza (flu) vaccine 1-2 months before the season every year. In order to avoid spreading, sick people should wear masks, wash their hands, and eat proper food. This will help prevent influenza from spreading.
HFMD is caused by a virus (Enterovirus 71, Coxsackie). It can be found sporadically throughout the year, especially in the rainy season. Children with this condition will have fever, a rash, blisters on the palms and soles of their feet, ulcers in the mouth, cheeks, tongue, and gums, and rashes on their legs and buttocks. Coughing, sneezing, saliva, or excrement can all lead to contact. The most typical age range is 6 months to 3 years (kindergarten to primary school). Symptoms normally go away on their own within 3-10 days. The usual period from initial infection to the time symptoms appear (incubation period) is 3 to 6 days. Infections can be detected in saliva. 2–3 days before symptoms appear until 1–2 weeks after the symptoms.
Some children might have difficulty eating or drinking because swallowing causes pain, resulting in dehydration, and if the fever is too high, it can cause seizures. Some people may have complications such as encephalitis and meningitis, especially children under 5 years old. Parents must watch for these symptoms and see a doctor immediately when something is abnormal.
In order to prevent HFMD, children should avoid being in crowded spaces if not necessary, have their own water cup or bottle, and use a serving spoon both at home and at school.
4. Dengue fever
Dengue fever is a viral infection that spreads from mosquitoes to human. This infection is generally considered a pediatric disease but is currently a growing problem in adults throughout the tropics. It can be found both in Bangkok and in the countryside. A high fever for more than 3 days, feeling exhausted, redness of the eyes and face, and stomach pain are suspecting symptoms of dengue fever.
Dengue fever symptoms include a high fever that does not respond to medication, headaches, pain in the back of your eyes, body aches, and redness of your eyes, face, and lips.
The liver is the most common organ to be involved in dengue. Hepatic manifestations are either a result of direct viral toxicity or dysregulated immunologic injury in response to the virus. It will cause the patient to have abdominal pain, especially in the right side of your rib. At the same time, the patient may endure vomiting and dehydration.
Lower the risk of getting dengue by protecting yourself from mosquito bites and reduce mosquito habitat. If you or a family member develop any of the warning signs, go to an urgent care clinic or the emergency room immediately.
5. Rotavirus (Acute Diarrhea)
Rotavirus is a viral infection that causes acute diarrhea. It can be found in children’s toys, food, or personal items that are not clean. Rotavirus is most common in infants and young children. According to research studies, almost every child from birth to 5 years of age has been infected with this infection.
The most common symptoms are diarrhea and vomiting. In some cases, you may experience a high fever, loose apatite, irritability, and dehydration. Children should eat healthily, drink clean water, and practice basic sanitation to avoid rotavirus. Breastfeeding is recommended for mothers. This will aid in the strengthening of their immune system. Children are not encouraged to start nursery school too soon since their immune systems may not be ready.
Currently, there are two types of vaccines available globally that are made from weakened rotaviruses. The rotavirus vaccine is administered by putting drops in the child’s mouth. Babies should get 2 or 3 doses of rotavirus vaccine, depending on the brand of vaccine used. It should be given starting at around six to twelve weeks of age.
6. IPD (Invasive Pneumococcal Disease)
IPD which stands for Invasive Pneumococcal Disease is a serious infection caused by a bacterium called Streptococcus pneumoniae. This bacterium causes bacteremia (a blood infection) and meningitis (an infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord) which are serious and may consequently cause the patient to have a severe disability or death, especially among infants and young children under 2 years old.
If the nervous system is infected, for instance, with meningitis, symptoms include high fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, and stiff neck. For infants, symptoms can extend to being cranky, drowsy, and might have seizures. In the case of bacteremia (blood infection), symptoms include high fever, being cranky, if severe could lead to seizure and death. If children have the aforementioned symptoms, it is strongly advisable to take children to see a doctor immediately.
Nowadays, there is a vaccine for children under 2 years old since they are highly at risk. The first jab of the vaccine should be taken by an infant aged 2 months old or above. The later jabs should be taken at the age of 4 months old, 6 months old, and approximately 12-15 months old. This vaccine is very crucial for children under 5 who have chronic diseases or autoimmune diseases since they are highly at risk. On top of the vaccine, children should be fed with human breast milk and raised with good hygiene practices in order to prevent such diseases and any other illnesses.
Every child is at risk of getting sick easily, especially in the rainy season. If children have abnormal symptoms such as high fever, loss of appetite vomiting, being easily fatigued, dehydrated, or having respiratory problems such as frequent coughing and dyspnea, they should be taken to consult a doctor immediately. The faster the disease is diagnosed; the chance of the disease being cured will be higher.
Illnesses cause physical discomfort as well as nervousness for both children and parents. In order to prevent any illnesses, parents should take care of children’s good hygiene ranging from washing one’s hands before eating to ensuring that children have good personal hygiene. These easy examples are basic ways for every household to adopt in order to keep children safe and sound.