As I caressed and cuddled her in my arms before placing her on the bed, I hoped that this time she would sleep peacefully for a longer duration. I had been awake for almost 40 hours at a stretch, barring short power naps in between, and I just didn’t have the energy and vigour left in me to be up even for a minute. I wanted to shut my eyes and stretch my legs. I wanted to give my back the rest it craved for. I wanted to get over the exhaustion that had seeped into every inch of my body. And more than anything, I wanted my daughter’s discomfort to end soon.
Aah, the blues of the flu! This is the scenario every time my toddler is down with it. The last time this happened was during the monsoons and needless to say, it was a gruelling time for both of us. Apart from the physical uneasiness and sickness associated with the seasonal flu, there is a lot more that comes along with it in a package deal. Kids become clingy and cranky, their appetite goes for a toss and they find it difficult to sleep due to the congestion. Also, there is a high chance of the infection getting passed on to the other family members. In our case, all 3 of us invariably fall sick when one catches the flu. And then begins the series of strenuous days and sleepless nights till everyone recovers from it.
It has been a relief that we survived the winters without getting affected majorly by infections, but it is not yet over. The spring season is here with beautiful weather and pleasant vibes in the surroundings. However, the weather change is also a seedbed for all kinds of infection due to the pollen in the air. This is the classic flu season and I am doing all that I can to keep my child protected.
Balanced and wholesome diet – You are what you eat! Undoubtedly, the most important contributor to overall health and well-being is a balanced and nutritious diet. It’s essential to offer variety of foods from all the food groups to not only the kids but also to adults. I include different fruits and vegetables in our diet to ensure adequate intake of vitamins and minerals. Since deficiency of vitamin C is known to affect body’s immune system, I try to include food items rich in vitamin C and iron in our menu. Vitamin C aids in the absorption of Iron in our body, hence it makes sense to group them together in a meal as much as possible.
The “wonder” herb Tulsi – While there are numerous home remedies to improve immunity and fight infections, I personally can vouch on the goodness of Tulsi. It is a powerful herb with medicinal properties and I have found it to be effective in battling against viral infections. Tulsi is known to contain hundreds of valuable compounds which possess strong antiseptic, antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral and immunity enhancing properties. Tulsi can also help in purifying the atmosphere. For centuries, it has been used in Ayurveda due to its diverse therapeutic properties. We either directly chew washed Tulsi leaves or drink Tulsi decoction obtained by boiling Tulsi leaves and then draining the water. Inhaling the vapours of tulsi leaves works well for clearing congestion.
Breastfeeding – If you are a breastfeeding mother, continue to do so through this season as breast milk contains antibodies that protect the child from infections. It does not just improve immunity of the child but also helps in faster recovery if the child succumbs to the attack of these “unwelcome foreign agents”. It’s not an unknown fact that breast milk is liquid gold and hence, I breastfeed my toddler more frequently if she demands for it during periods of illnesses.
Hygiene – Hygiene is an extremely important aspect to take care of, all the more during the seasons when kids are susceptible to sickness. One cannot and should not stop the child from going outdoors and playing in the lovely weather, or from meeting people outside who might be infected themselves. The best bet is to ensure proper hygiene to stay protected from germs by washing hands regularly and using a sanitizer when not at home. I also add few drops of Dettol antiseptic liquid to the bathing water sometimes.
Avoid unnecessary use of antibiotics – Please do not insist your doctor to prescribe antibiotics to treat common cold and flu because antibiotics only kill bacteria and not viruses. Ingesting them without a proper diagnosis of a bacterial infection leads to killing of the good bacteria in our bodies and this can harm body’s immune system in the long run.
While one cannot really escape illness, following the above hacks boosts my child’s immunity and makes us better prepared for adverse climatic changes.