Tips to protect your children during summer

  • The most common illnesses that occur to children during the summer and how to avoid them

Summer is the longest season in the UAE. With the summer break around the corner, children are prone to a number of allergies and infections. The most common issues seen in children during the summer are dehydration, heat stroke, dry skin, fungal infections in the foot, and sun burn.

Dehydration and heat exhaustion can happen very quickly during the summer and it is very important to drink lots of water and electrolytes to stay hydrated at all times. Fresh fruit juices with no added sugar are a great source of electrolytes. School going children need plenty of fluids because they may play outside in the heat.

Heat stroke results in high body temperature, rapidly increased breathing, and fast pulse. To avoid this one must avoid direct sun rays and heat. During the summer, it is best to avoid being outside during peak sun hours.

Dry skin, rashes and sun burn are common skin problems seen in children and adults during summers. Dry skin is caused due to dehydration, which one must drink lots of water to avoid. Keeping the skin moisturized at all times is also important to avoid dryness. Rashes are caused due to excess sweating caused by the heat. Sun burn is generally seen in people with less melanin or lighter skin color, although this doesn’t rule out the probability of children with darker skin developing sun burns.

Food poisoning is also rather common during summers. Food must always be kept covered at all times if it is kept outside.

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Mother kissing baby

Newborns at risk, from a simple kiss

Can a simple kiss really be dangerous to newborns?

Dr. Bhavani: Yes it can. To some extent, some dangers depend on the immune status of the new born as the child is exposed to many diseases and infections that can be transmitted by one way or the other.

 

Is it easy for a newborn to contact diseases/infections from a kiss or other ways?

Dr. Bhavani: Yes, an adult with a cold sore, which is caused by the Herpes simplex virus spreads from skin to skin contact, like kissing and also by sharing razors, lipsticks, tooth brushes, eating from the same utensils or even sharing towels. The virus lies in the dormant cells of the skin, and of the mouth and breaks out into disease when the immune system of the individual goes down. Though Herpes Simplex I virus is commonly distributed as a benign infection in the population, it can have a much more severe effect on newborns. Symptoms of the herpes simplex virus typically appear as a blister or as multiple blisters on or around affected areas — usually the mouth, in this case. The blisters break, leaving tender sores.

Often, the appearance of Herpes Simplex virus is typical and no testing is needed to confirm the diagnosis. If a health care provider is uncertain, herpes simplex can be diagnosed with lab tests and virus cultures. Furthermore, individuals with other communicable diseases like cold and flu, tuberculosis, etc. can pass on the infection when they kiss or touch a newborn. Infectious mononucleosis, commonly called as kissing disease, is another infectious disease that spreads by kissing in older children, mostly in teenagers. It is caused by the Epstein–Barr virus (EBV).

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The importance of Breastfeeding

As part of our Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign, we invited some mothers and mothers-to-be in order to share their experiences of breastfeeding and to highlight the important role that breastfeeding played in the physical and mental development of their children. Apart from the mothers, our Specialist Paediatricians Dr. Lubna Rashid and Dr. Sunitha George also share their views on the need to breastfeed newborns and infants.

Watch the full video HERE

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Establish Good Baby Sleep Habits

Here are some tips to help your baby settle down to sleep:
Give your baby a chance to nap frequently. For the first six to eight weeks, most babies aren’t able to stay up much longer than two hours at a time. If you wait longer than that to put your baby down, he may be overtired and have trouble falling asleep.
Teach your baby the difference between day and night. Some infants are night owls (something you may have gotten a hint of during pregnancy) and will be wide awake just when you want to hit the hay. For the first few days you won’t be able to do much about this. But once your baby is about 2 weeks old, you can start teaching him to distinguish night from day. When he’s alert and awake during the day, interact and play with him as much as you can, keep the house and his room light and bright, and don’t worry about minimizing regular daytime noises like the phone, music, or dishwasher. If he tends to sleep through feedings, wake him up. At night, don’t play with him when he wakes up. Keep the lights and noise level low, and don’t spend too much time talking to him. Before long he should begin to figure out that nighttime is for sleeping.
Look for signs that your baby’s tired. Watch your baby for signs that he’s tired. Is he rubbing his eyes, pulling on his ear, or being more fussy than normal? If you spot these or any other signs of sleepiness, try putting him down to sleep. You’ll soon develop a sixth sense about your baby’s daily rhythms and patterns, and you’ll know instinctively when he’s ready for a nap.
Consider a bedtime routine for your baby. It’s never too early to start trying to follow a bedtime routine. It can be something as simple as getting your baby changed for bed, singing a lullaby, and giving him a kiss goodnight.
Put your baby to bed when he’s sleepy but awake. By the time he’s 6 to 8 weeks old, you can start giving your baby a chance to fall asleep on his own.
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First Aid Steps for Infant Choking

Choking is a common cause of injury and death in young children, primarily because their small airways are easily obstructed. It takes time for babies to master the ability to chew and swallow food, and babies might not be able to cough forcefully enough to dislodge an airway obstruction.

How to keep your baby safe

Infant choking is scary, but it’s largely preventable. Understand why babies are so vulnerable to choking — and what you can do to prevent infant choking.

  1. Properly time for the introduction of solid foods -Wait until your baby is at least 4 months old to introduce pureed solid foods.
  2. Don’t offer high-risk foods– Don’t give babies or young children hot dogs, chunks of meat or cheese, grapes, raw vegetables, or fruit chunks, unless they’re cut up into small pieces. Don’t give babies or young children hard foods, such as seeds, nuts, popcorn and hard candy that can’t be changed to make them safe options.
  3. Supervise mealtime Don’t allow your child to throw food in the air and catch it in his or her mouth or stuff large amounts of food in his or her mouth.
  4. Carefully evaluate your child’s toys–  Don’t allow your baby or toddler to play with  small balls, marbles, toys that contain small parts or toys meant for older children.
  5. Keep hazardous objects out of reach-Like coins, button batteries, dice and pen caps.

Signs of Infant Choking

  • Agitation
  • Unable to cry or vocalize
  • Cyanosis or bluish colored skin
  • Gasping for air
  • Weak ineffective coughing
  • High pitched breathing noises like wheezing

 

Steps to follow when your baby is choking

  1. Kneel or sit with the infant in your lap.
  2. Remove clothing from infant’s chest.
  1. Hold the infant face down on your forearm, which is resting on your lap or thigh to support the infant.
  1. Deliver up to 5 back slaps forcefully between the infant’s shoulder blades, using the heel of your hand. Deliver each slap with sufficient force to dislodge the foreign body.
  2. After this, place your free hand on the infant’s back, supporting the back of infants head with your palm and turn the infant as a unit.
  3. Hold the infant face up, with the forearm resting on your thigh .Keep the infant’s head lower than the trunk.
  4. Provide up to 5 quick downward chest thrusts in the middle of the chest at the rate of 1 per second.
  5. Repeat the sequence of up to 5 back slaps and upto 5 chest thrusts until object is removed.
  6. If the infant becomes unresponsive, stop giving back slaps and begin CPR, starting with chest compressions.

To be prepared in case of an emergency take a class on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and choking first aid for children. Encourage everyone who cares for your child to do the same.

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