KidsDoc Monthly Newsletter from AllForKids

July -2009,Vol -1,Issue-19

By Dr. M.Vijayalakshmi M.D(Peds), M.D(USA), FAAP, DAA
Content Sources: Centers for Disease Prevention and Control(CDC), American Academy of Pediatrics


Latest from AllForKids

Please check out the Flu IQ quiz on


Know how antibiotics work and antibiotic resistance in bacteria


Are you aware that colds, flu, most sore throats and bronchitis are caused by viruses? Did you know that antibiotics do not help fight viruses?

  • Antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses such as:
    • Colds or flu;
    • Most coughs and bronchitis;
    • Sore throats not caused by strep; or
    • Runny noses.

Here is a chart of common  viral diseases for which antibiotics are not necessary



Misuse, improper use and incomplete use of antibiotics cause antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Antibiotic resistant bacteria is a common and growing problem, you can help by following the steps below.

When you use antibiotics appropriately, you do the best for your health, your family's health, and the health of those around you

What To Do

  • Talk with your doctor about antibiotic resistance.
  • Do not ‘ask’ for antibiotics
  • When you are prescribed an antibiotic,
    • Take it exactly as the doctor tells you. Complete the prescribed course even if you are feeling better. If treatment stops too soon, some bacteria may survive and re-infect you.

      This goes for children, too. Make sure your children take all medication as prescribed, even if they feel better.

      Throw away any leftover medication once you have completed your prescription

Children's Oral Health


Tooth decay (dental caries) affects children more than any other chronic infectious disease. Untreated tooth decay causes pain and infections that may lead to problems; such as eating, speaking, playing, and learning.

The good news is that tooth decay and other oral diseases that can affect children are preventable. The combination of dental sealants and fluoride has the potential to nearly eliminate tooth decay in school-age children.

What Parents Can Do

  • Encourage your children to eat regular nutritious meals and avoid frequent between-meal snacking.
  • Protect your child’s teeth with fluoride.
    • Use a fluoride toothpaste. If your child is less than 7 years old, put only a pea-sized amount on their toothbrush.
    • Talk to a dentist or physician about the best way to protect your child’s teeth.
  • Talk to your child’s dentist about dental sealants. They protect teeth from decay.
  • Ensure that your child brushes her teeth twice a day, morning and night
  • If you are pregnant, get prenatal care and eat a healthy diet. The diet should include folic acid to prevent birth defects of the brain and spinal cord and possibly cleft lip/palate.

Danger from Baby Walkers

At our clinic in the last 2 weeks itself we have seen two babies 8 months and 9 months olds who fell ,toppled over with the walker and had lip lacerations and stitches

Baby Walkers can be Dangerous!

Cuts and lacerations are minor injuries. There is greater risk of head injury, bleeding and permanent neurological damage.

Look at the facts from US:
  • 34 children have died since 1973 because of baby walkers.
  • Baby walkers send more than 14,000 children to the hospital every year in US.

Are baby walkers useful?

It is generally believed that infant walkers don't help your kids learn to walk sooner than if they didn't use a walker. In fact, one study, Effects of baby walkers on motor and mental development in human infants, concluded that 'walker-experienced infants sat, crawled, and walked later than no-walker controls,

Another study, Infant walkers: developmental tool or inherent danger, found that 'the use of the infant walker did not influence the onset of independent walking.'

So while it is maybe not clear on whether or not using a mobile infant walker will delay the time that your child learns to walk, there have been no studies showing that it will help your child walk sooner than if you didn't use one.

As the statistics from the AAP show, many infants are injured when they use a mobile infant walker.

Injuries include:
  • falls, especially down stairs
  • pinch injuries to fingers and toes
  • burns
  • poisonings
  • drowning

Most of these injuries aren't because the walker itself is dangerous, but only that it makes your child more mobile, which can cause injuries if your house isn't well childproofed. Using a walker, he can get to and knock over a hot cup of coffee, pull something off of the stove, get too close to a fireplace or grab something poisonous out of a cabinet.

In case you are using a Baby Walker make sure that you are using a newer model infant walker that meets new voluntary safety standards, including having a wide base so that they can't fit through most doorways and a braking mechanism so that the walker stops if one or more wheels come off of the ground, like if it was going down stairs.

And be sure to always supervise your child in a mobile walker. Remember that most infants are quite fast in these walkers and can quickly get away from you and that many walker injuries occur while the child was being supervised by an adult.

Paracetamol and other medicinal overdose in children

Paracetamol/Acetominophen (Sold in India under brand names like Calpol, Fevago etc.), is one of the most important drugs when your child has a headache, fever, body ache or toothache. It can help ease the pain and allow your child to get a good night's sleep. It is one of the safest drugs when provided in the correct doses.

Mixing up doses of drops with suspension is a common mistake made by parents -- the two are not interchangeable because of different concentration of the medicine- it can be dangerous. Poisonings can occur when parents mix up products and give babies a potentially dangerous dose.

There are four common ways for your child to get an overdose of Paracetamol/Acetominophen:

  1. As mentioned above, you can give your child the wrong dose of the medicine by mixing up infants' and children's doses. If you have several children of different ages and one of them is an infant, this mistake can be extremely easy to make, especially at night
  2. You can accidentally give your child a double dose. One parent gives the child a dose of a medicine, and then the other parent does the same thing a few minutes later because of lack of communication.
  3. You give your child two medicines simultaneously, both of which contain the same ingredient
  4. You do not keep medicines out of reach of children

Carefully follow the instructions from your doctor and in case of doubt double check with your doctor or pharmacist.

Disease Focus: Meningitis

What is meningitis?


A: Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. People sometimes refer to it as spinal meningitis. Meningitis is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Knowing whether meningitis is caused by a virus or bacterium is important because the severity of illness and the treatment differ depending on the cause. Viral meningitis is generally less severe and clears up without specific treatment. But bacterial meningitis can be quite severe and may result in brain damage, hearing loss, or learning disabilities. For bacterial meningitis, it is also important to know which type of bacteria is causing the meningitis because antibiotics can prevent some types from spreading and infecting other people. Before the 1990s, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) was the leading cause of bacterial meningitis. Hib vaccine is now given to most children as part of their routine immunizations. This vaccine has reduced the number of cases of Hib infection and the number of related meningitis cases. Pneumococcal vaccine (Prevenar) has played a role in decreasing the incidence of Meningitis in many parts of the world.   Today, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitidis are the leading causes of bacterial meningitis.

What are the signs and symptoms of meningitis?

A: High fever, headache, and stiff neck are common symptoms of meningitis in anyone over the age of 2 years. These symptoms can develop over several hours, or they may take 1 to 2 days. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, discomfort looking into bright lights, confusion, and sleepiness. In newborns and small infants, the classic symptoms of fever, headache, and neck stiffness may be absent or difficult to detect. Infants with meningitis may appear slow or inactive, have vomiting, be irritable, or be feeding poorly. As the disease progresses, patients of any age may have seizures.

Can bacterial meningitis be treated?

A: Bacterial meningitis can be treated with a number of effective antibiotics. It is important, however, that treatment be started early in the course of the disease. Appropriate antibiotic treatment of most common types of bacterial meningitis should reduce the risk of dying from meningitis to below 15%, although the risk is higher among the elderly.


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