Top summer children’s infections to watch out for this season

There are a few illnesses associated with the summer season that we should all be aware of.

By Dr Suresh Gowda

We all want the summer months to be filled with laughter and fun for our kids, and want a carefree summer for our little ones. However, as parents we are always worried about the health of our kids especially with changing seasons. There are a few illnesses associated with the summer season that we should all be aware of, just as there are a few illnesses that come with winter, such as colds and flu. Here are 10 popular summer illnesses to watch out for, along with prevention tips:

Otitis externa

Also known as Swimmer’s Ear, it is an inflammation of the outer ear canal caused by water remaining trapped inside. This creates a moist atmosphere, which encourages the growth of bacteria. Swimmer’s Ear is most often contracted by children after spending time in a pool or the sea. It causes the ear to feel full and itchy, and can be very painful. Temporary hearing loss can occur in some children (or adults). Swimmer’s Ear is quickly handled with over-the-counter antiseptic ear drops and can be prevented by using ear plugs when swimming.


Sunstroke occurs when a person spends too much time in the sun, resulting in a dangerously high body temperature. A fast heartbeat, disorientation, nausea, a dry swollen tongue, and warm, hot skin are all symptoms of sunstroke. In severe cases, sunstroke will render the sufferer unconscious. Sunstroke is a very dangerous condition that necessitates a trip to the emergency room. To stop sunstroke, keep your children in the shade throughout the day and make sure they are well-hydrated by getting them to drink plenty of fluids.

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Allergic rhinitis

Hay fever is a widespread ailment with symptoms that are close to a cold, with symptoms worsening in the spring and summer. It can be light for some youngsters, but it can also be a significant hindrance for others.

Heat rash

Heat rash is a red or pink rash that appears on the head, neck and shoulders. It happens when the sweat ducts swell and become blocked, causing itching and discomfort. Wearing heavy clothing in the heat is the most common cause of heat rash. It can be avoided by dressing your children in light clothes. Heat rash normally goes away in a day or two and does not necessitate medical treatment.


Eczema is a recurrent skin condition that produces an itchy rash all over the body. Allergies are a common cause of eczema, which can improve during the summer. Chlorine and sun exposure, on the other hand, can dry out the skin and cause irritation. Increased sweating can aggravate eczema. If your child has eczema, consider wiping down their skin when it gets hot so that sweat doesn’t build up. Using a healthy moisturiser and a hypoallergenic sunscreen on your child’s skin every day. Dress them in light, airy clothing to allow their skin to breathe and reduce irritation.

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Lyme disorder

Lyme Disease may not be very common, but the number of people affected by the disease, however, is increasing. It is important to educate yourself about the disease in order to protect yourself and your loved ones. Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness that is most often contracted in the summer.

Ptomaine poisoning

Also called food poisoning, it is a foodborne disease that is most prevalent during the summer months. Bacterial growth is aided by heat, and an increase in outdoor activities raises the risk of food poisoning. When we eat food that contains such bacteria and viruses, we get food poisoning. Microorganisms then multiply in the digestive tract, resulting in an infection. Vomiting, diarrhoea, and stomach pain are common symptoms, with a fever in some cases. Ensure the meats are completely cooked and maintain good kitchen hygiene to protect your children from food poisoning.

Virus Coxsackie

During the summer and autumn months, Coxsackie virus is more prevalent in cooler climates. The virus can cause flu-like symptoms in some children, but about half of them have no symptoms at all. A type of Coxsackie virus that causes painful blisters on the lips, gums, palms of hands, and soles of feet is known as hand, foot, and mouth disease. Within a week, the majority of children recover completely from hand, foot and mouth disease. Encourage children to wash their hands to help prevent the disease from spreading.

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Harm to the eyes

Although eye damage is not a disease, it is an extremely important risk to prevent that is often ignored. Since the lense of a child’s eye is more translucent than that of an adult’s, they are more vulnerable to the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. Make sure your child wears sunglasses if he or she is outside in the heat. A hat with a large brim will provide additional eye protection for your child. Mind that UV rays bounce off the sand and water, making them much more harmful at the beach.

Note to keep in mind!

You should take the requisite steps to keep your child healthy and safe during the summer months. During the summer, remember to protect yourself from the sun, stay out of the water, and prevent insect bites. In the summer, remember to drink plenty of water and eat a healthy diet. Increase your child’s consumption of fresh fruits and focus on at least two baths a day for them to remain cool and infection-free.

(The writer is Consultant Paediatrician & Neonatologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Bangalore)

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