You want to do what is best for your children. You know about the importance of car seats, baby gates, and other ways to keep them safe. But, did you know that one of the best ways to protect your children is to make sure they have all their vaccinations?
Because of advances in medical science, your child can be protected against more diseases than ever before.
All vaccines are only given to children after a long and careful review by scientists, doctors, and healthcare professionals. Vaccines will involve some discomfort and may cause pain, redness, or tenderness at the injection site, but this is minimal compared to the problem, despair, and trauma of the disease vaccines prevent.
Vaccines have reduced and, in some cases, eliminated many diseases that killed or severely disabled people just a few generations before.
Pneumonia contributes to 3.8% of under-5 deaths in 2006. Since then, the number has increased to 5.1%, and things aren’t getting any better soon. Globally, pneumonia kills 1.4 million children under the age of 5, which is more deaths than AIDS, Malaria, and TB combined. Pneumonia kills one child every 20 seconds. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), only 1 in 5 parent/parents/caregivers can recognise the sign of pneumonia.
A variety of germs causes pneumonia and, in most cases, are caused by viruses, including adenoviruses, rhinovirus, influenza virus (flu), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and parainfluenza virus.
Pneumonia begins with an upper respiratory tract infection; symptoms show after two to three days of a cold or sore throat. It moves to the lungs, where fluid, white blood cells, and debris start to fill the lungs and block air passage, making it harder for the lungs to work well.
Pneumonia mimics the common flu but possesses different reactions based on the cause – either by bacteria or viruses.
If caused by bacteria, kids usually become sick fairly quickly, beginning with a sudden high fever and characterised by unusually fast breathing.
If caused by a virus, symptoms are gradual and less severe, but wheezing is expected.
Pneumonia varies depending on the age and trigger of the condition. Signs of pneumonia can include:
- Very fast breathing
- Breathing with grunting or wheezing
- Difficulty in breathing – flared nostrils, belly breathing
- Stuffy nose
- Shaking chills
- Chest pain, belly pain
- Loss of appetite
- Extreme cases may include bluish or greyish lips and fingernails
In Malaysia, prevention comes in the form of vaccination. Vaccination against pneumonia that comes in the form of a pneumococcal vaccine protects the child from the streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria that can cause meningitis and pneumonia.
Learn more about vaccines and how they can protect against many strains that are most likely to cause severe disease from your healthcare professional today.
Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is a common infection in children that causes sores called ulcers inside or around the mouth, rash or blister on their hands, feet, legs, or buttocks. Unlike foot-and-mouth disease that only affects animals, HFMD is caused by Coxsackie Virus a16 (Cox A16) and Enterovirus 71 (EV 71).
HFMD can affect anyone, but children under 5 are most likely to get it and spread quickly through an infected person’s body fluids.
- Mucus from the nose of lungs
- Fluid from blisters or scabs
- Coughing or sneezing
- Close contact like kissing, hugging, sharing cups, or sharing utensils
- Contact with feces, like when changing a diaper
- Touching surfaces with the virus on them
HFMD begins with a fever, feeling sick and poor appetite. Early symptoms may also include:
- Sore throat
- Painful blisters inside the child’s mouth
- Loss of appetite
From the early symptoms, within one to two day, a child may develop:
- A rash that turns into blisters
- Flat spots or sores on their knees, elbows, or buttocks
Upon meeting your healthcare expert or doctor, they will most likely ask you about your child’s symptoms and identify sores or rashes. Though this may be enough to decide if it is HFMD, they may also get a swab of your child’s throat, take feces samples or blood for lab testing.
There is no specific treatment for HFMD, but it will usually go away after seven to ten days. HFMD is treated through fever medicine and pain killers to reduce the fever and pain in the mouth.
Lower the chance of HFMD infection by:
- Washing your hands after changing a diaper or wiping your child’s nose
- Teaching kids sneezing and coughing etiquette
- Clean and disinfect surfaces
- Avoid contact with someone who has hand foot and mouth disease.
Avoid sending your child to school or daycare until their symptoms are gone.
Get help by asking your doctor today to know more about HFMD and how to stop it.