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Allergy & Asthma care

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KidsDoc Monthly Newsletter from AllForKids
March 2008, Vol-1, Issue-3

"All About Fevers"

By Dr. M.Vijayalakshmi M.D(Peds), M.D(USA), FAAP

 

Fevers can be scary for parents. But even though infants and children get their share of colds and fevers, fevers should be taken more seriously. When your baby is burning up, it can be hard to think straight and make important decisions. Learning what causes fevers and how to treat them will ease your anxiety and help you take control of the situation.

What causes a fever?

Fever is usually, but not always, an indication of some infection in the body, It is the body’s first line of defense in fighting infection. Everyone has his or her own internal “thermostat” that regulates body temperature, and normal body temperature is around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit plus or minus about one degree (37 degrees Celsius, plus or minus about 0.6 degrees). When the body detects an infection or other illness, the brain responds by raising the body temperature to help fight the condition. Generally a temperature of 100.4°F or higher is considered a fever. A fever itself doesn’t necessarily warrant a call or visit to the doctor. It depends on the age of the child and his other symptoms.

You may want to take your child’s temperature if they are:

  • Unwell and feel hot
  • Irritable, crying
  • More sleepy than usual
  • Vomiting or refusing to drink
  • In pain

Managing the Fever

A fever can’t always be detected by feeling your infant’s forehead. It’s usually necessary to take his temperature as well. There are numerous thermometers on the market that measure temperature in different areas, including under the arm, inside the ear and under the tongue; rectal thermometers can also be used. Once you’ve identified a fever, you can begin treating it if needed based on your child’s age and other symptoms. Don’t panic, fever by itself is not something to panic about. You should observe how the child looks and how they’re acting and whether they are behaving normally. Then you should focus on how to get the fever down. With the vast majority of viral infections, once you get the fever down, everything’s better.

Keeping Fever at Bay

Although not every fever needs to be treated, there are some things you can do to help make your child more comfortable. Giving a child paracetamol or ibuprofen will usually reduce a fever. Make sure you’re giving the appropriate dose and if they are under two years old, contact your pediatrician before giving any medication. Common sense is equally important for treating fevers, don’t overdress the child. A fever will also cause a child to lose fluids more quickly, so offer your baby plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Signs of dehydration include crying without tears, a dry mouth, and fewer wet diapers. Being prepared can help take the fear out of fever.

 

Keep your thermometer ready and accessible so you don’t have to search for it once your child is ill. Have children’s paracetamol or ibuprofen on hand. And make sure your pediatrician’s phone number is handy.

 

Warning Signs

A baby or child with Fever should definitely be seen by a Pediatrician immediately if any of the following conditions are noticed:

  • Your child is under three months age
  • Your child is under 12 months age has a fever for more than 24 hours
  • Fever has not improved in 48 hours and the child is over 1 years but under 3 years
  • Fever has not improved over 2-3 days if the child is above 3 years
  • Your child’s fever is above 40°C or 104°F
  • A fever accompanied with a headache, stiff neck, or purplish patches or tiny red spots on the skin
  • A fever and pain when urinating
  • A fever and severe pain in any part of the body
  • A fever with obvious breathing difficulties
  • Is having trouble swallowing and is unable to swallow her own saliva
  • A fever and is having a seizure
  • A fever after you have returned from a trip abroad

 

These are general guidelines and your child’s paediatrician will be able to provide the best guidance specific to the condition of your child.

 

Motion sickness in Children

Few things can ruin a long car trip faster than motion sickness in a child. Motion sickness usually starts with cold sweating and a queasy stomach. It can then lead to nausea, dizziness and vomiting. But there are measures you can take to prevent and relieve motion sickness in younger children:

  • Focus your child's attention elsewhere. If traveling in a car, distract her from the queasy feeling in her stomach by having her look at a toy or out the window not at books or games.
  • If traveling in a minivan or SUV with three rows of seats, have your daughter sit in the middle row of seats rather than the last row.
  • Feed your child before you leave. Feed your daughter a light snack if she hasn't eaten in several hours. This relieves hunger pangs, which seem to make motion sickness worse.
  • Keep things cool. A constant cool breeze from the air conditioning vents may help ease motion sickness. If you don't have air conditioning, crack a window and let her breathe the fresh air.

If none of these things works, stop the car and have your daughter lie on her back with her eyes closed. Applying a cool, damp cloth to her forehead also may help.

Medications are another option for preventing or relieving motion sickness in children younger than 12 years. However, consult your child's doctor before using medications for this purpose.


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Facts about Allergies

What are allergies?

Allergies are physiological reactions caused when the immune system reacts to a specific foreign substance (allergen). Normally, the human body defends itself against harmful substances such as viruses or bacteria, but, sometimes, the defenses aggressively attack usually innocuous substances such as dust, mold, or pollen.

Intradermal allergy test reactions

What are allergic reactions?

An allergic reaction may occur in the skin, eyes, lining of the stomach, nose, sinuses, throat, and lungs - places where immune system cells are located to fight off invaders that are inhaled, swallowed, or come in contact with the skin. Reactions may result in the following:

  • Rhinitis - nasal stuffiness, sneezing, nasal itching, nasal discharge, itching in ears or roof of mouth.
  • Allergic conjunctivitis - red, itchy, watery eyes.
  • Atopic dermatitis - red, itchy, dry skin.
  • Urticaria - hives or itchy welts.
  • Contact dermatitis - itchy rash.
  • Asthma - airway problems such as shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing.

What causes allergic reactions?

Although hundreds of ordinary substances could trigger allergic reactions, the most common triggers, called allergens, include the following: Pollens , molds , dust mites , animal protein (dander, urine, oil from skin) , foods , medicines , feathers and insect stings .

Who is affected by allergy?

Allergies can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, race, or socioeconomic status. Generally, allergies are more common in children. However, a first-time occurrence can happen at any age, or recur after many years of remission. There is a tendency for allergies to occur in families, although the exact genetic factors that cause it are not yet understood. Often, the symptoms of allergies develop gradually over a period of time. Yet, with the help of an allergy specialist, these symptoms can usually be prevented or controlled and quality of life greatly improved.

How is allergy diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, the Allergy Specialist may use the following:

  • skin test
  • blood test

 

Treatment for allergy:

Specific treatment for allergy will be determined by your child's doctor (who should be a qualified allergist) based on the following: Your child's age, overall health, and medical history , extent of the disease , your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies , expectations for the course of the disease , your opinion or preference

The prevalence of Allergy and Asthma is increasing worldwide and India is facing a mini-crisis with an estimated 30 Million people in need for specialized care and only about 300 doctors who are qualified allergy specialists.

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