Xxm had been falling sick every month or so upon turning two. This increased propensity to illnesses is a result of greater exposure and mingling with children of all ages during his daily playgroup and playground sessions. For the past year, I observed some telling signs which enables me to foretell illnesses and implement measures to arrest them before they strike.
Avoid drastic temperature changes
Different seasons bring forth different illnesses. Although sunny Singapore does not experience the four seasons like our northern counterparts, many of our public places are fully air-conditioned which recreate such seasonal changes in a matter of minutes. The organs of children below three are not fully developed and their body is not able to adapt that rapidly to such drastic temperature changes.
I was not a firm believer of this theory until I had personally experienced this with Xxm. On two separate occasions, Xxm had developed a high fever following a visit to NEX public library. The library is located on the rooftop of NEX shopping mall. So when Xxm stepped out from the air-conditioned library, he was immediately greeted by the scorching heat from the ground. So nowadays, I make it a point to carry him whenever the ground is hot so as to minimize direct exposure to the heat from the ground. In addition, wear a hat if possible to protect from the sun overhead. And always keep the chest warm in cold environments.
Trust your motherly instincts. Be sensitive of your child’s bodily temperature changes.
I realized that I was able to detect a slight temperature rise in Xxm’s body as least two days before the actual fever develops. More often than not, it was the soles of his feet or his palms which felt warmer than usual. I also noticed that Xxm became more irritable at night, tossing and turning in his sleep. The lack of proper rest further aggravates his condition.
To tackle this problem, I give him a dose of cooling herbal tea specially formulated for children called xiaoerqixingcha (小儿七星茶）. His temperature will subside and does not warrant a need for paracetamol or brufen.
Refrain from giving sweets
I made a mistake of giving Xxm a lollipop when he had a mild case of running nose. It sped up the disease progression to a chesty cough with lots of phlegm. To explain it in Traditional Chinese Medicine terminology, sweet food disrupts the proper functioning of the spleen (脾）which is one of the major organs that causes phlegm within the body. The thick phlegm is difficult to expel out for children and also affects their sleep at night. These symptoms are usually very persistent and can stretch up to three weeks for Xxm.
So these are the three principles that guide me in the maintenance of Xxm’s health. Hope it gives you a good idea what to look out for too.