India being sub-tropical country, summers are generally harsh & very humid. And almost everyone hates this and the heat makes everyone extremely uncomfortable; particularly this time of May as heat & humidity are at its peak all around the country. Growing pollution & less greenery adds to our irritation. Adults are generally cranky throughout owing to discomfort however heat exposure is a cumbersome issue for children as their bodies are more vulnerable especially children with special needs like Cerebral Palsy wherein a child has limited mobility or is immobile.
Children with special needs often find it very difficult to communicate. Thus, keen observation about the symptoms of overheat/ temperature is needed by the guardian /parent. If you observe symptoms such as sleeplessness, excessive irritation, dryness in mouth, dull skin, dislike towards food, loose motions, vomiting, nausea, stomach aches, cramps, giddiness etc immediately consultant your pediatrician. Over heat exposure, excessive dehydration, exhaustion can be extremely detrimental to the health of children. It may also prove fatal.
Take following precautions for enabling Children with Special needs to lead a healthy summer:
- Wear light clothing: Wear light clothes of heat friendly fabrics such as cotton so that your child feels comfortable. Full sleeves clothing will help you protect from sunburns.
- Avoid getting out from 10 am to 4 pm: Schedule the doctor’s appointment or therapy session for your child accordingly.
- Adequate Ventilation in the room: See to it that your child stays in a room where air is getting circulated properly.
- Sponge your child if he/she can’t move or give then bath before bed.
- Stay hydrated/Drink enough fluids: In summer, the body loses more water so everyone needs need to drink enough water. Avoid carbonated drinks as they make one even thirstier. The healthy choices could be coconut water, lemonade and fresh fruit juices.
- Use Cooling mattress, cooling pillow or other helpful ‘temperature’ inserts which are made up of specific materials that promote temperature control
- Never leave your child alone in a car.
Other general summer Health Care tips such as vaccination, maintenance of hygiene, appropriate diet, use of sun screen etc. have been shared in our earlier blog. General summer healthcare tips remain same for all and they work for all. However, a special care must be taken as the special need child can face prolonged health challenges even brain damage.