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Tuesday, July 26, 2011


What Is Cough ?

Cough are the very common problem in childhood and are usually a symptom of infections such as a cold, measles or whooping cough. The cough itself is a reflex action, designed to prevent anything other than air from entering the lungs. A cough clears the upper part of the breathing tube of phlegm, mucus or any inhaled foreign body. It is worth remembering that, if a child suddenly starts to cough with no other obvious signs of infection, a breathed-in foreign body, such a piece of food, may be the cause. But normally, cough clear up on their own and should not be dosed with strong medicines, unless prescribed by a doctor.


Most childhood cough starts as part of an obvious respiratory infection the commonest being a cold. A cold can be caught at any age from birth onwards and coughing is nearly always one of the symptoms. The infection of the cold can spread through the tubes which make up the lower respiratory tract. In the larynx, or voice-box, this can cause laryngitis. Infection of the trachea, or windpipe, will cause tracheitis, and infection in the lungs will cause bronchitis or pneumonia. Small children who are prone to bronchitis whenever they get a cold, may also develop wheezing. This can be diagnosed as wheezy bronchitis or, sometimes, as asthma. A cough may last for several weeks after a cold. In this case usually a noisy bark without any rattling noise and no sputum will be present. It will be worse at night when the child is lying down. This happen because, after a cold, the nose and sometimes which, during the day, can be cleared by blowing the nose, sniffing or swallowing (where the stomach can neutralized it harmlessly). At night time, however the discharge trickles down the back of the throat, irritates the entrance to the lungs, and sets off a reflex cough. The reflex prevents the discharge from entering the lungs and so prevents more serious problem arising. Sometimes, other factors, such as enlarged adenoids, a chronic infection of the sinuses or an allergy, can cause a similarly persistent discharge down the throat and so result in a long-lasting cough which is worse at night than in the day. Another cause is whooping cough which has once again become widespread as fewer children are being immunized against it. When it starts, the infection is often very like an ordinary cold but, gradually, the cough gets worse especially at night. Bouts of coughing, during which the child’s face goes red, followed by being sick or a characteristic whooping, make the diagnosis more obvious. Measles is another common cause of coughing. When a child first gets measles, he will suffer from a runny nose and a cough, and the eyes become pink. Small white spots inside the mouth appear followed by a rash on the body. A cough which starts suddenly, without any other signs of infection may be caused by a foreign body which has been breathed in and become lodged in one of the tubes leading to the lungs. Young children often put small toys in their mouths and can quite easily swallow sometimes or breathe it in through the nostrils. A child of any age can breathe in a small piece of food or a titbit such as a peanut. If such an accident happens, it is important to see a doctor any foreign body that remains in the lungs can cause serious infection. Another cough that has no signs of infection is the habit tic. A child who, for example, may have some emotional problem can develop a persistent, nervous cough. Whether or not the child has a habit tic will become apparent if the child stops coughing whenever happily occupied or asleep.READ MORE

Cough-Symptoms,Complication & Treatment


Noisy, dry, barking cough are common and not usually serious. They often stat during a cold and are more persistent at night when children lie down. Sometimes, often start during a cold and are at night, a spell of dry coughing may be the  start of an attack of asthma. Later, the child may get wheezy, although in many children coughing rather than wheezing is the symptom of asthma. A less noisy, rattling cough which leads to sputum being coughed up or swallowed, occur with bronchitis or pneumonia if part of the lung has collapsed. Such a cough also occurs when a foreign body gets into the lung and is also a symptom of cystic fibrosis.


Where the coughing is caused by an inhaled foreign body, this can lead to severe bouts of coughing and, if the problem is acute, the child may go blue and start choking. Even if this does not happen, however, the incident may be followed by a high temperature a few days later. If this happen it means that part of the lung has become infected. A young baby who catches whooping cough can become very ill indeed. Nearly all deaths from whooping cough occur during the first year of life. The baby may develop lung complication, inhale vomit after a bout of coughing or suffer from insufficient food if frequent bouts of coughing are followed by vomiting. Any child who develops a croupy cough should get medical treatment at once.


As far as possible, the cause of the cough should be treated, not the cough itself. Antibiotics are used for treating infections such as sinusitis, bronchitis, tonsillitis and pneumonia. Nose drops, decongestants and antihistamines can be used to treat allergies that cause runny noses. Special drugs are necessary for asthma. A foreign body in the lungs needs urgent medical attention and a habit cough needs understanding of the child’s problem, not medicine to stop the cough. The majority of cough will clear up as soon as the cause disappears or is successfully treated. Coughs caused by colds are quite normal and will keep on happening all through childhood.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


What Is Diphtheria ?

Diphtheria is now uncommon that is has unfortunately become all too easy to forget that the germ is still around. But small outbreaks of diphtheria do still occur and children who have been immunization are at risk. Diphtheria is caused by a virulent germ called the Corynebacterium diphtheria or Klebs-Loeffler bacillus. It can be spread in various was: by direct contact with an infected person; by using their clothing or towels’ by contact with a carrier of the disease’ or by drinking contaminated milk.


Children between the ages of two and five years old are usually affected. At first the illness resembles severe tonsillitis with a high temperature and swollen red throat. Small white spots appears on the tonsils, spreading and joining together to from a grayish-white membrane. This spreads up towards the nose and down towards the throat become enlarged. Breathing becomes difficult and eventually the airway can get completely blocked, causing suffocation. The toxin produced by the bacteria may spread throughout the body to affect the heart muscles – possibly causing heart failure – and the kidneys. Paralysis of the muscles of the palate, eyes, eyes, back, abdomen, arms or legs also occur.


Early diagnosis is essential for effective treatment. Any delay makes the disease more likely to be fatal. Swabs from the nose and throat are taken and analyzed, and once the diagnosis has been made the child must be kept in bed and will usually be given antibiotics. In addition, the child must have diphtheria anti-toxin’ the sooner this is given, the greater the chance that the child will survive.


Skilled nursing is essential as recovery and convalescence are slow. There is also the danger that the patient, already weakened by diphtheria, may contact other infections, such as severe broncho-pneumonia, which could be fatal. Although diphtheria is extremely serious, with prompt treatment the chance of survival are fairly good.


Parents should be aware that the rarity of diphtheria is due to the widespread immunization of children and that all children must continue to be immunized in the first year of lfe to protect them and to ensure that the disease does not regain the foothold it once had.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Whooping Cough-Causes,Symptoms

 What Is Whooping Cough ?

Whooping cough or pertussis to give it its medical name, is an infectious illness that an be caught by children of any age. It is most common between the first and fifth year but after the age of nine it is rare. It is usually among childhood infections because of the length of time it lasts; it can take anything up to three or four months for a child to recover completely. During its course, children suffer numerous bouts of coughing that can be so severe that they are left gasping for breath. This gasping, combined with the narrowing of the air passage in the throat, causes the whoop as air inhaled-hence the name of the disease. Although largely preventable by immunization, public anxiety about the safety of the vaccine has led to fewer children receiving it in recent years and this has resulted in epidemics of the disease. 


The illness is produced by infection with a bacterium called Bordetella pertussis. When a person with the disease coughs, large numbers of the bacterium are expelled in tiny airborne droplets. If these are breathed in by people who have neither been immunized nor had the disease before, they may become infected. This infectious stage occurs during the first two or three weeks of the illness and children in the same house or classroom are likely to catch it.


At first, during the seven to ten day incubation period, there is no way of knowing that a child has caught whooping cough because there are no symptoms. The disease itself begins in exactly the same way as a common cold but, after about a week, it becomes obvious that it is no ordinary cold. Although the temperature is only slightly raised, the cough steadily worsens and the child has difficulty in clearing the nose, throat and air tubes of thick, sticky mucus.After about 10 to 40 days, true coughing spasms being to occur. The child can cough up to 20 or 30 times rapid succession. Because the child is unable to take a breath between each cough, the face can become red, then blue, often with the eyes bulging and mouth drooling. For a few moments the child may seem to have stopped breathing but then will take an enormous gulp of air, sometimes making a whooping noise as the air rushes past the vocal cords into the lungs. At the end of the spasms vary severity and frequency from one child to another and may occur as little as four times daily or as much as 40. This coughing-spasms stage lasts from one to two weeks, and the slightest upset, movement, change of room temperature or drought may provoke a spasm. Smaller children, particularly, are easily frightened during these spasms, and babies rapidly become exhausted. Babies under a year are the most seriously affected - probably because during the bouts of coughing their vocal cords close completely, temporarily preventing air from getting into the lungs. As the illness declines, the coughing bouts become less severe and the whoop disappears. An unpleasant cough may continue for two or three months, however, during which time the child feels generally under the weather. A few lucky children, including those who develop the illness despite being immunized, may shake off the illness in a much shorter time. In a typical case diagnosis is simple. However, some children neither whoop nor have prolonged coughing spasms so the disease should be suspected when any child has a bad cough that continues for more than two weeks. There are other illness which have similar symptoms to cough, such as infections causing enlargement of glands adjacent to the bronchi (large air tubes leading into the lung), and mild case may be difficult to distinguish from bronchitis. Also, an infant who inhales something - such as food going down the wrong way a small toy, bead, or peanut may cough is spasms, but this will not have been preceded by a period of mild coughing, a cold and a temperature the typical whooping cough symptoms. Where there is doubt, a doctor can confirm the diagnosis by sending a sample of mucus, taken from the back of the nose, to a laboratory for testing. Alternatively, a blood test will give a good indication of the presence of whooping cough.Learn More

Whooping Cough-Complication And Immunization


The most severe, although rare, complication is a convulsion. This may occur when the baby or child goes blue at the end of a spasm. In general, these first are harmless but sometimes they are a sign of encephalitis (brain inflammation) which can be fatal or leave behind permanent brain damage. Hospital treatment is essential in this case. It is possible that pneumonia may occur when the whoop disappears. This can be detected if the child develops rapid, shallow breathing and a rise in temperature. In other patients, thick mucus may block one or more of the bronchi (air tubes) causing parts of the lung to lose their air and collapse. Most of these children recover with the use of antibiotics and physiotherapy but some may be left with permanent lung weakness. Other complications are related to the force of coughing: the eyes may become very bloodshot, a hernia (rupture) may appear as a swelling at the groin or or navel, or there may be rectal prolapse (the lining of the lower bowel is forced out through the back passage). Drugs have virtually no effect on the illness. An antibiotics is often advised during the first two weeks but this is to prevent the bacteria from spreading to other children rather than to cure the sick child. Numerous remedies have been tried, including cough mixture, antispasmodics and drops which are supposed to paralyze the nerves involved in coughing. There is no firm evidence that any are effective but your doctor may think one or two of them are worth trying. Children who are fearful and anxious may be calmed by small doses of a sedative. Many parents find the illness too alarming to cope with in small infants so hospital admission may have to arranged through the family doctor. In hospital, oxygen and an electrically-driven suction device that removes mucus during a spasm are the mainstays of treatment. Those few children who have convulsions or collapsed lung can be treated with physiotherapy. Quarantine of contacts is not always possible but babies should be kept away from brothers or sisters with the illness. Nearly all children recover completely without any complications, and lifelong immunity is achieved from a single attack. Patients are no longer infectious after three weeks and can then return to school as soon as they feel up to it.


There is a vaccine for whooping cough which can be given in three doses, usually combined with diphtheria and tetanus, at six-weekly intervals from the age of three months. The vaccine is highly, but not totally, protective. However, those who develop whooping cough despite being immunized tend to have it very mildly, often without the distressing whoop. In recent years, controversy has arisen over the use of whooping cough vaccine. It has been linked with brain damage and even death in your children. At present, there is no way of proving conclusively that the vaccine is responsible for these effects since idetical conditions can occur without the child ever having been vaccinated. Studies and medical statistics have shown that the risk of brain damage and death from complications of whooping cough is much greater than the apparent risks of vaccination. Children who are known to have a pre-existing brain disease, who have had fits or who have a parent, brother or sister who has epilepsy, not due to head injury, should not be immunized. So far as other children are concerned, parents must make a decision based on their feelings and the advice they receive from the family doctor.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Childhood Illness

What Is Childhood Illness ?

Childhood illness can range from relatively mild complaints to more serious diseases. The following guide describes how they affect a child and how to provide adequate protection and treatment. Of the diseases covered, diphtheria is by far the most serious. The fact that isolated cases have been reported recently means that parent must be sure their children have been immunized. Whooping cough, too, can be serious and again, immunization should be carefully considered. Being informed is the first step towards protecting your child from illness. For some illness, prevention through immunization is one way of ensuring that a child will not suffer from them. For other, learning to recognize the illness when the first signs appear may help to prevent serious complications arising. A child who is ill needs care and attention and, at the same time, parents need to know that they are doing the right thing. Knowing when to take a child to hospital is vital, but for some of the milder illness home treatment, backed up by medical advice, will be adequate. Parents should also remember that an infected child may have to be isolated briefly from other children.      

Scarlet Fever: Causes And Symptoms

Scarlet fever is steel considered by many to be a severe illness, which necessitates isolation of the children in a fever hospital and carries the risk of unpleasant complications. But, fortunately, with modern medical treatment there are no longer great viewed as being more akin to  a nasty attack of tonsillitis. In fact the only difference between some sorts of acute tonsillitis and scarlet fever is the latter’s skin rash.

Both scarlet fever and certain types of tonsillitis are cause by the same bacterium streptococcus. However, the particular strain of this germ which causes scarlet fever also produces a toxin which in turn acts on the child’s blood and causes a red rash. One attack of  scarlet fever gives the child permanent immunity against another attack, but this does not offer any protection against the many other strains of streptococci which cause tonsillitis.

At one time any child who caught scarlet fever was extremely ill. Nowadays however, the strain of bacteria that causes scarlet fever has discovery of an effective treatment in the from of antibiotics has meant that symptoms are fairly short lived. The child first become ill about two to five after he has been in contact with the germ. There is a sudden start to the illness and the initial signs are usually of a high fever up to 40°C (140°dF) and a loss of appetite, often accompanied by vomiting. The younger child seldom seems to notice that his throat is sore, but frequently complains of a bad stomachache. This also happens in acute tonsillitis and is probably due to the lymph glands in the abdomen becoming enlarged in an attempt to fight off invading bacteria. The older child may complain of a sore throat and also notice enlarged and tender lymph glands in the neck. The rash usually starts between 48 and 72 hours after the child has become ill. The rash consists of very small red spots which appear on a flushed pink skin. They usually first appear around the neck, in the armpits and in the groin. They then spread to the chest and the rest of the body. The patient’s face is usually flushed, except for a characteristic paleness around the mouth medically known as circumpolar pallor. The flushed of the skin disappears for a  few seconds if the skin is pressed with a finger. If scarlet is not treated promptly, the skin starts to peel after about one week, coming off in tiny flakes from around the small bright red areas of the rash. The peeling is most marked over the finger’s and toes, but may affect other parts of the body including the chest, abdomen, arms and legs. Usually the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet are the last areas to peel. At the start of the illness, the throat, including the tonsils, is bright red and there are usually white spots on the tonsils. The tongue is covered in white fur with little red protuberances or papillae white strawberry  tongue. The white fur on the tongue disappears, leaving red papillae on a red tongue  strawberry  tongue. The symptoms of scarlet fever may often resemble other conditions. For instance, the appearance of the throat and tongue can also occur in acute tonsillitis. And, initially scarlet fever symptoms can be confused with measles and German measles or glandular fever. A definite diagnosis can be made, however, when a throat swab is taken and infecting germ tested.

Complications And Treatment

In the past, scarlet fever had serious complications, but fortunately these are now very rare. Before antibiotics were used the germ could cause serious septicemia and other parts of the body besides the throat could become infected with the streptococcus. Infection of the bone caused osteomyelitis. The glands in the neck could also become so seriously infected that they might cause abscesses which could burst. Later complications, starting two or three weeks after the onset of untreated scarlet fever could include infection of the kidneys (acute nephritis), which might cause permanent  renal damage. This complication would start with fever and ‘Smokey’ urine. A specimen of urine from a child with scarlet fever may still be examined two or three weeks after the illness to make sure that there is no blood or protein in it; the likelihood of this happening, however, is very small. Rheumatic fever, which can cause permanent damage to the heart, also used to develop about a fortnight after the start of untreated scarlet fever. The child’s larger joints, such as the knees, elbows, shoulders and hips, would become acutely inflamed and the pain characteristically flitted from one joint to another. Inflammation of the middle ear (otitis media), however, is still a common complication of scarlet as it is of course of acute tonsillitis.
Scarlet fever, however mild, is treated with an antibiotic: the effectiveness of this treatment means that after 24 hours the organism is no longer infectious. The perhaps take a throat swab and send it to the laboratory; but he will not wait for a report on the germs before prescribing an antibiotic for the child. Penicillin is normally the antibiotic chosen; but erythromycin may be used for a child’s urine will probably be examined two or three weeks after the start of the illness to make sire that the kidneys have not been affected. Scarlet fever today is rarely very serious and there is little risk of a child suffering further complications.

  1. Give prescribed drugs at the correct time, don’t miss doses and always finish the course if your child appears to have recovered.
  2. 2. At first, your child will not feel like eating. Don’t worry, simply ensure that he drinks plenty of fluids. A straw or an infant’s mug will make drinking easier and more fun.
  3. 3. Until the doctor says that your child can return to school, ensure that he rests quietly but there is no need for him to be in bed.
  4. 4. If your child’s urine looks ‘Smokey’ after he has apparently recovered, consult your doctor.