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It’s winter time and as a mommy, you are well-prepared with sweaters, blankets and socks for your little one. Fever, cold and cough are such common problems in winter that we take all the extra care we can to keep our babies from falling prey to them. But despite your precautions, there exists a problem we don’t pay much heed to. After all, highly unlikely that anyone can get dehydrated in winter, right? Wrong.
Runny noses, dry skin and flu are things every mom anticipates, come winter. We’ve got our home-remedies on hand and will whip out that ginger honey concoction the moment the baby does as little as clear his throat a few times. But there’s a silent criminal that pops his ugly head out every winter and brings on a load of problems in kids.
Most of the times, dehydration is disregarded as a summer-only concern. It seems obvious; when it’s hot, you sweat and lose water and hence become dehydrated. That is true. But it is also true that dehydration lurks around every winter as well! In winter, the air is drier. This strips your child’s skin of moisture, leaving him dehydrated. The lungs work harder than usual to humidify air and warm it up, causing further dehydration. What’s worse is that winter dehydration is often overlooked, and as moms, we aren’t aware of what we need to be doing to prevent it!
We have put together for you a list of must-do’s that will help prevent and combat dehydration in your baby, this winter. These precautions will also keep your child’s immunity stronger than ever.(Note: Please use the food-based remedies only if you have introduced solid foods to your baby, typically 6 months old and onwards. Additionally, some of them, e.g. honey, are suitable for kids only after they are one year old. )
1. Serve These Fruits
An excellent way of keep dehydration in check is to let fresh, juicy, seasonal fruits do their magic. These fruits are a great source of water and minerals and that’s an added bonus. Focus especially on these fruits:
These fruits contain high levels of water, making them perfect to replenish your child’s dehydrated body. You can whip up fruit salads with custard or jelly as a fun treat for your kids or even make smoothies and milkshakes for a yummy spin on regular fruits.
2. Introduce These Soups
Yes, there’s more reason to make soup in the winter aside from just how cozy it feels. Hot soups or cold soups are a good way to sneak fluid into your child’s diet and keep dehydration away! If your child is old enough, you can add dollops of cream to get your little one to slurp the bowl dry.
Tip: Try making a concoction of cucumber along with other veggies of your choice. Cucumber contains a higher water content than other vegetables and is excellent to fight dehydration.
3. Invest in a Humidifier
A humidifier combats dry air that is a common problem in winter months and a leading cause of dehydration. Heaters also dry out the air considerably, causing the body to purge itself of fluids. Having a humidifier at home allows the moisture to stay locked in, allowing your kids to breathe easier as well. If you have a small baby at home, this is especially useful to keep the air in his room moist.
4. Follow These Dress Rules
While it is important to cover your kids up to protect them from the cold, keeping them too warm can actually be more harmful. Keep these guidelines in mind:
- Don’t cover your child from head to toe as this can cause him to sweat and get severely dehydrated. Make sure he can breathe comfortably and has mobility.
- It is best to put on layers you can remove them when your child is too hot.
- Don’t overdress your child at night-time as this is a high risk period for dehydration as well as, in severe cases, SIDS.
5. Breastfeed More Often
The magical cure that solves so many of your baby’s problems is useful here too! Breastfeeding helps keep your little one hydrated in the winter. You can feed your baby more frequently to help him stay healthy as well as give him the antibodies he needs to increase his immunity in the winter. ||
6. Feed This Warm Fluid
For your child to combat dehydration in winter, the temperature inside of your child’s body needs to be optimised. Warm fluids do just that. Use warm water drinks like honey and lemon – they soothe your child as well as keep his body temperature optimised, avoiding dehydration.
7. Be Careful of These Symptoms
Even if you have followed the above steps, there is a possibility that your baby could still be dehydrated. To ensure he gets treatment in time, watch out for cues from your child:
- If he is feeling weak, dizzy or restless
- If he complains of headaches
- If he hasn’t been active during the day
- Dehydration can also make children very cranky and sluggish and cause their bodies to function inappropriately
- If your baby is on diapers, check that he has been wetting at least 6 to 8 diapers a day
- If he has dry skin and mouth
- If your baby has no tears when he is crying
If you spot these symptoms, you need to start increasing your child’s fluid intake immediately. If the symptoms are severe, it is best to see the paediatrician as your baby may require an oral rehydration solution.
8. Check If These Medical Problems Are Causing Dehydration
Finally, it is possible that the dehydration is not seasonal or due to a simple lack of fluids. There could be an underlying medical condition that needs to be examined. These include:
- Cystic fibrosis
- Tummy problems that affect baby’s ability to eat and drink
You should visit the paediatrician to get this evaluated and seek the appropriate treatment.
Let’s not treat dehydration as something that is a concern only when the weather is hot. It can be a serious problem even in the winter. As mothers, we need to be very careful and do observe these must-do’s to ensure that our child remains safe and healthy.