Archive | Infections

Coping with Chickenpox

It’s the summertime and most children spend all afternoon playing outside with their friends. But if in the last few days your kid begins to feel weak with colds and a slight fever you might want to check for the presence of rashes in the skin that can tell you that your child had just contracted chickenpox.

Chickenpox is a viral disease caused by varicella zoster. It can cause reddish spots that form like blisters throughout the body. The spots can range from the size of a mongo bean to as big as a dime and it is often very itchy. Most kids get chickenpox in the hot season as they play outside with other kids who may have had recent chickenpox.

Chickenpox also known as varicella is a common childhood disease and almost all children will have it before their adolescent years. Chickenpox is contagious just like any other viral disease. It can spread through sneezing, coughing, sharing toys and food with someone who has the disease. Most children who have chickenpox do not realize that they have it because the appearance of the rashes does not come until 2 to 3 days of the active infection. Children are highly contagious 2 to 3 days before the blisters appear and after the blistered have fully healed and crusted off.

What are the symptoms of chickenpox?

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue and body weakness
  • Appearance of rash 2 to 3 days after other symptoms are felt

Chickenpox is diagnosed by a doctor upon seeing the symptoms on a child. Medications are usually not necessary as the immune system will fight off the virus over time. Treatment will just focus on isolating the child to prevent disease transfer to other individuals in the household. Interventions to prevent the child from scratching will also need to be implemented to avoid infection. Here are some tips and advices you can do when your child has chickenpox.

  • Keep children cool because sweating makes the blisters more itchy
  • Cut your child’s fingernails to avoid scratching and skin tearing that can lead to re-infection
  • Oatmeal baths can help sooth itchy skin
  • Calamine lotion can also alleviate itching
  • Do not use aspirin for fever as most children develop Reye’s syndrome, a very serious condition.

In the old days many people die of chickenpox. It’s good thing that now there is a vaccine available given at the age of 1. It may not assure you of not getting infected with the disease in later life but the symptoms and complications will be much milder compared to those who have not received the vaccination.

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Systemic Viral Infection in Children: How to Intervene

In various clinical areas and paediatric units, we may have read or heard of the diagnosis SVI or Systemic Viral Infection. The name appears to be very complicated but trying to dig its etiology and pathology, one will conclude that it’s a diagnosis that can be understood with proper knowledge and dissemination. SVI is common in children because their immune system is not as strong as that of the adult. On the other hand, the effect of SVI to children may be relative to each.

What is SVI?

Systemic viral infection is a term being used to connote a health condition affecting the whole body. Typically, the virus enters the body leading to a local affectation with increasing chances of infecting the blood circulation and various body parts. The rigorousness of the infection may depend on the individual’s homeodynamic state or body resistance. In addition the strain of virus invading the system can highly influence the client’s condition. The most common types or strains of viruses are as follows:

  • Measles
  • Chickenpox
  • HIV
  • Mumps
  • Influenza
  • Rubella
  • Hepatitis
  • Rubeola

Viral infection can also be categorized as an acute and chronic illness. The former is usually abrupt and occurs for a short period of time usually less than six months while the latter is composed of activation and reactivation of signs and symptoms, usually occurring more than six months.

Interventions

In general, a virus is usually self limiting which means it will be subsiding on its own. In the event that symptoms remained uncontrolled, antiviral drugs are available to counteract the infection. Other supportive measures which can be of help are as follows:

  • Institution of enough rest to reduce the cellular activity of the body.
  • Liberal amounts of fluid for hydration purposes-force fluids up to 1.5 litres.
  • Good nutrition and balanced diet.
  • Symptomatic approaches like if the person has fever, an anti pyretic will be prescribed.
  • Decongestants and anti cough medications for respiratory problems.
  • Hospitalization which may require insertion of an IV line and administration of IV drugs, anti viral agents to be more specific.

Prevention

Experts suggest the following to maintain a healthy body and be prevented from different diseases:

  • Daily intake of multivitamins
  • A diet with Vitamin C and other essential minerals. Fruits and vegetables should always be included.
  • Avoiding congested places and persons with suspected viruses.
  • Daily exercise regimen
  • Universal precaution or hand washing

For children with untoward manifestations and deteriorating symptoms, consult to a medical practitioner may be needed for further management and evaluation.

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Dengue Fever: An Overview

Dengue is caused by the mosquito Aedes aegypti which can usually be found in the tropical areas of the world and has been considered to be one of the major health threats locally and overseas. Being the most popular and common arboviral illness, dengue has been of the focus of the world Health Organization (WHO).

Assessment and Findings

  • It is very important to tell parents that children with dengue can manifest a fever as high as 41°C. Fever may begin on the third day of the incubation period which can last up to 7 days. The term saddle back fever is commonly used to connote appearance, abatement and reappearance of fever. To add up, an elevated body temperature is usually preceded by mottling of skin, a flushed face, erythematic skin and chills.
  • Headache can be present causing an altered comfort to children.
  • Nausea and vomiting may be present in some cases.
  • Maculopapular rashes or confluent of the face, thorax and other parts of the body can be seen.
  • Myalgia or muscle pain may be reported especially in the major bony prominences.
  • Hemorrhagic symptoms may likely to happen from epistaxis (nosebleeding), hematemesis (vomiting blood) and hematochezia (blood in stool).
  • Abdominal pain may be reported.
  • Drop in the platelet count happens.
  • Flu like symptoms can happen such that of nasal congestion and sore throat.

Management

Symptomatic management are provided which means for every manifested symptom, a specific intervention or medical treatment can be done and they are as follows:

  1. Anti pyretic like Paracetamol for fever.
  2. Analgesics for muscle pain and headache.
  3. Histamine blockers and Proton pump inhibitors may be administered to patients with gastrointestinal symptoms.
  4. Insertion of venoclysis or intravenous fluids to maintain fluid and electrolyte status.
  5. Transfusion of platelet component as necessary to avoid persistent bleeding.
  6. Hematinics or drugs preventing hemorrhage for patients with hemorrhagic manifestations.

Other forms of management are supportive in nature to prevent complications and conserve the remaining body strength and resistance.

  • Hydrate the child and force fluids as tolerated.
  • Intake of multivitamins and other essential supplementations to boost the immune system.
  • Provide and allow adequate periods of rest and relaxation.
  • Incorporation of fruits and vegetables to the diet.

The etiology and manifestations of dengue fever are very important to prevent the child from developing complications or worst to experience premature death. Parents should take the responsibility in monitoring the soft of their children and provision of a conducive environment free from vectors which can be carriers of the virus. Moreover, if symptoms do manifest, fever and its accompanying symptoms should not be taken for granted.

Posted in High Fever, Infections0 Comments

Strep and Its Strange Signs

When your child falls ill, a fever and a swollen, painful throat may be enough to tell you that your child has strep throat. What you may not realize is that strep is actually the bacteria that cause the inflammation and pain in your child’s throat, and according to Dr. Joy Ziegler, a pediatrician from Wakefield, Rhode Island, it can infect and affect other parts of the body, too.

If you see any of these strange signs in your sick child, it is possible that the culprit is actually strep. It is best to see a doctor for a prescription of antibiotics:

 Scarlet Fever

Your child may initially present with symptoms of fever and strep throat, but the latter may not always be present. Red rashes with the texture of sandpaper will appear on the child’s torso, particularly between folds of skin such as the groin or the underarm. The rashes are in fact a reaction to the toxins that are released into the bloodstream by the strep bacteria.

 Strep Impetigo

Your child can get impetigo when there is a break in the skin (such as a cut or a wound) or in the lining of the nose. The strep bacteria invade the body by entering through cuts or open skin or membranes, and cause a rash. You will most likely notice the rash spreading around the mouth and the nose. The rash develops into reddish sores that rupture after a few days. From the ruptured sore develops yellowish crusts.  

Genital Strep

Getting genital strep is common when there is an outbreak of impetigo or strep throat. Children can catch it and spread it to their peers in school. There may be red rashes resembling a pimple, with a whitish coating in the child’s genital area. It may affect the anus as well. If these rashes grow on the anus, the child may complain of having a sore bottom, and may have a hard time moving bowels because of the pain. If the sores are present around the labia and vagina, a female child may also find urinating uncomfortable because of the pain. Some children don’t like wearing underwear as it causes irritation, warmth and pain in the area.  

 

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Chronic Ear Infections and Long Term Hearing Loss

Ear infections are very common in children. Sometimes parents get scared when children complain of difficulty in hearing. This happens because the infection in the ear causes some fluids to accumulate inside which clogs up the ears making it very difficult for children to hear. But usually, these ear infections go away when given medication. However, the question still remains: does an ear infection, especially the chronic ones cause long-term or permanent hearing loss? And what causes chronic ear infections in the first place? This article will be an eye opener for every concerned parent out there.

 What is a Chronic Ear Infection?

A chronic ear infection occurs when the bacterial infection reaches the middle ear. It persists for more than a week, and when the infection worsens, the ear is filled up with pus. Once the ear drums become severely infected, intense pain can be felt by your child. But most of the time, when children are very healthy, these infections can heal by themselves. But to further make the healing process faster, antibiotics may be administered. The common causes of chronic ear infections are fungal pathogens, bacteria and virus. Statistical records indicate that it is children who are more susceptible to chronic ear infections because of the fact that their Eustachian tubes are shorter compared to adults and they also have weaker immune systems to different bacteria and viruses which causes the infection. It has also been traced that other causes of chronic ear infection include bottle feeding during infancy, diet of the mother during pregnancy, smoking of the mother during pregnancy and certain allergies.

 Occurrence of Long Term Hearing Loss from Chronic Ear Infection

Even if ear infection is most common with children, the occurrence of permanent hearing loss is so rare. This is true even if children get ear infections often. The only chance that a child could suffer from permanent hearing loss is when their eardrums get damaged, as well as the ear’s bones or when the hearing nerves are affected. When children have had a lot of cases of ear infections, but in the end they get treated with medication, the risk of suffering from long term hearing loss is very little.

 What to do to Prevent Frequent Occurrence of Ear Infections

In order for your child to be relieved of the frequent occurrence of ear infections, and to make sure that he or she will be safe from complications of chronic ear infections like permanent or long term hearing loss, a child should be brought to the doctor for some medications or minor surgical procedures. It is best that you consult and expert in the ears like an otolaryngologist. This expert doctor might recommend a procedure called ear tube placement to make sure that the frequent occurrence of the infection does not happen again. In addition to this big comfort that will be felt by your child, he or she will also be safe from the possible complication of ear infection like long term hearing loss.  

  

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All About Vaccines: What Adverse Reactions Are Possible?

Children are normally required to be provided various vaccines in accordance to their age.  However, not too many people are familiar with the problems that are linked with adverse reactions to vaccines.  Although these reactions are rare, they definitely require you to be familiar with them.  These reactions are generally caused by hypersensitivity to chickens, eggs, gelatin, antibiotics, and mercury.
 
Allergies from Antibiotics
 
 Polio vaccines, MMR or measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines, and varicella vaccines contain neomycin which could cause minor skin rashes.  If your child, however, has allergy with this type of antibiotic, it is advised that you do not subject your child to this type of vaccine. On the other hand, children that are allergic to penicillin antibiotic are safe to take this vaccine as no vaccine contains this type of antibiotic.
Allergies from Eggs and/or Chickens
 
 The vaccine commonly called as the “flu shot” or the influenza vaccine has egg proteins.  People, in general, who have an allergic reaction to eggs or chicken, should never take this kind of vaccine.
For people who travels especially in tropical countries like Africa, chances are you may be prone to Yellow fever.  However, yellow fever vaccines also do contain egg protein.  What can be done to resolve this is to take two skin tests using the vaccine.  If both skin tests did not show any reaction, you or your child may proceed with taking the vaccine.  If any of the two tests presented a reaction, this means that a desensitization process has started.
The MMR vaccines are safe to be taken by children with egg or chicken allergies.  Children with dramatic egg allergies are also improbable to have any adverse reaction to this type of vaccine.
 
Allergies from Gelatin
 
  There are a number of live vaccines that use gelatin as their stabilizing agent.  Children who have severe allergic reaction to gelatin are advised to take skin tests first before taking these vaccines.  Gelatins either come from boiled hogs or cows.  Most gelatins come from boiled cows.  Vaccines that contain gelatin usually come from boiled hogs.  You will need to determine first what type of gelatin your child is allergic to. Vaccines that have gelatin in their ingredients are MMR, yellow fever vaccines, and varicella.
Allergies from Mercury
 
Mercury also referred to as thimerosal in vaccines, is a component found in some vaccines.  This is usually used in killing contaminants in the body.  Although severe allergic reactions to this ingredient are rare, children who are allergic to mercury should still be cautious.  Vaccines that use this as an ingredient are usually those that are found in a multi-dose tablets.
Vaccines that are typically included in the routine schedule are free from mercury or thimerosal or contain only a small amount.  There are also a number of inactivated influenza vaccines available.  However, these types of influenza vaccines have limited supply.  The PHS or the Public Health Service and the AAP or the American Academy of Pediatrics has already taken steps to eliminate the use of mercury as an ingredient to vaccines.  Preservatives were also required, especially those for multi-dose vials to avoid any forms of microbial contamination that happens when the vial is unwrapped.  All manufacturers of these types of vaccines were persuaded to look for other options of preventing contamination.

Posted in Allergies, Chickenpox, Child Safety, Infections, Measles, Mumps0 Comments

How to Treat Child Illnesses at Home

Parents are always hoping that their children would not get sick but it is inevitable that most children with their underdeveloped bodies and immune system, they  tend to be stricken with common diseases every once in a while. Parents would need to be ready to take care of their children at home for diseases that are not so serious for hospital confinement. Here are a few tips on how and when to treat child illnesses at home.

  1. Insect bites – probably the most common problem in children that plays around the house a lot. Children can easily get insect bites if they aren’t wearing clothes that fully cover their extremities. If children will play outside parents should put a mosquito lotion on their exposed skin to prevent insect bites from disease carrying vectors such as mosquitoes. It will also be helpful to dress them with cotton long sleeves and pants for full coverage of the skin.
  2. Sore throat – many children are prone to get sore throats characterized by redness of the area, difficulty is swallowing and fever. Sore throats may be caused by a bacterial infection that is treated with antibiotics. Consult your doctor before starting any antibiotic treatments. For home treatment for children with sore throat make sure they are well rested and offer lots of fluid to ease pain and dryness in the throat.
  3. Pink eye – the inner eyelids and the white portion of the eye is reddened. This causes itchiness; swelling and a greenish yellow discharge may be present. Placing a warm clean wash cloth will ease the pain and discomfort and can easily wipe the discharge off the eye for better visualization. Consult your doctor for prescription eye drops to remove any bacterial infection. Make sure that your child has plenty of rest and washes his or her hands frequently to avoid contaminating others.
  4. Fever – is not a condition in itself but a symptom of an underlying disease or infection. It is necessary to pinpoint the cause if there are any. Providing care for a child with fever includes limited activities with plenty of rest and sleep. Medication to decrease temperature with the right dosage from the doctor at equal intervals until fever goes away. A tepid sponge bath will help regulate the temperature and provide a soothing feeling for the child.
  5. Colds and runny nose – Children are very susceptible to colds and flu with their weak immune system and close proximity to other infected individuals in school. Parents can use a suction bulb to suck out gently the mucus out from the sinuses. Increasing oral fluid intake is beneficial to replace lost fluids from the body and will further loosen the mucus. Serve nutritious foods to your sick child and give them lots of fruits rich in vitamin C to boost their immune system to help fight off the disease.

When caring for a sick child at home remember that they need to rest so give them fun activities that can be done while in bed like watching cartoon movies, reading books and coloring. This will remove boredom while maintaining a resting environment for the child to fully recover.

Posted in Flu, High Fever, Infections, Medical Care0 Comments

What To Do With Children Prone To Pinworms

What are pinworms?

Children are more prone to pinworms because they don’t often wash their hands and most toddlers still practice thumb sucking which further spread the disease. A pinworm or also known as Enterobius vermicularis, is a parasite that lives in human’s intestines. It grows up to 3mm to 10mm long from sucking the nutrients absorbed in the intestines and can cause intense itching in the anal area especially at night. It itches intensely because the female pinworms get out of the rectum to deposit their eggs.

How can my child get pinworms?

When a child touches soil where the eggs of the parasite can be found it gets dislodged in their fingernails and when kinds puts their hands in their mouths the eggs are transferred inside the body where they grow to be adult parasites which eventually lay eggs and can accumulate into the small intestines. Spread from one person to another is easily done because when an infected person gets in contact with things that are commonly shared among children like toys, beddings and clothes. Although children are more prone pinworms can also affect adults. Pinworm infection rapidly spreads among persons who live in a crowded place such as dormitories, public hospitals, mental institutions and prisons. It can also be ingested through poor food sanitation.

How can you tell if a child has pinworms?

The most common sign of pinworm infection is itching in the anal region which becomes intense at night. This occurrence leaves a child sleepless at most nights and you can see them scratching their butts as the female pinworm deposits her eggs in the peri-anal tissue. For some female patient the itching progresses in the vagina as spread of the worms occurs although this is very rare. In severe infections, some children may show signs of irritability, restlessness and loss of appetite. A definitive diagnosis of pinworm can be obtained by looking for pinworm on the anus at night time or on bed sheets of the person affected. The pinworms are visible to the naked eye. Another method use by health practitioners is to pat the anal region with the adhesive side of a sticky tape in the morning to look for eggs or worms on the tape to be further examined under a microscope. Pinworms can also be seen in a child’s stool.

How to treat pinworms and prevent it from recurring?

The medication of choice for pinworms is a one time dose of mebendazole to kill the adult pinworms. This dose is to be repeated after two weeks to ensure that the newly hatched eggs are also eradicated. It is often advised that everyone in the household needs to be treated to prevent the spread of infection once and for all. Apart from medication all household items such as beddings, toys and clothes needs to be washed thoroughly with detergent and warm water. Parents should teach their children to frequently wash their hands especially before eating and to avoid putting their hands in their mouths.

Posted in Child Safety, Diet and Nutrition, Growing Pains, Infections0 Comments

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