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Common winter illnesses in children

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Dhaka, 24 January, 2020: Winter is knocking at the door and few diseases are quite common in our children at this time. Most of the diseases that affect children in winter are common cold, bronchiolitis, pneumonia, tonsillitis and sore throat, asthma, earache, whooping cough, stomach flu or viral diarrhoea, scabies etc.

Common cold or influenza starts with malaise, body ache, rhinitis, cough, headache and fever. Usually persists for 5-7 days. Does not require any antibiotics, paracetamol and antihistamines are sufficient. Plenty of fluids to be taken. Nasal decongestant drops may help to breath easy. Vaccines maybe given against influenza for prevention.

Bronchiolitis, a common viral disease of lower respiratory tract, usually occurs to babies of 2 months to 2 years of age. Rhinitis, sneezing, cough, mild fever, respiratory distress may happen. Keep the baby warm, breast feed frequently. They often need hospitalisation for oxygen therapy. Hand washing prevents spread.

Pneumonia may affect children in any season but is more common in winter. High fever, cough and respiratory distress may happen. Paracetamol and oral antibiotics like amoxycillin may be started at home but seeking a doctor’s advice is wise for better treatment. Pneumococcal and Hib vaccine against pneumonia is available.

Sore throat like pharyngitis and tonsillitis are quite common in winter, often caused by virus but some times by bacteria. Gargling with warm water, paracetamol and antihistamine is sufficient; if it does not cure within 2-3 days, doctors advice should be taken before starting antibiotics.

Asthma attack during winter frequent in winter. Nebulisation with salbutamol or oral salbutamol and use of montelekast is enough if the attack is mild. But steroid and other measures may be needed after consultation with a physician. Child beyond four years of age may use inhaler effectively.

Diarrhoea is common in winter and starts as acute watery diarrhoea .This needs prevention of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Oral rehydration therapy (ORS) is the solution. Zinc therapy may help. Breast feeding and usual diet to be continued. But if there is severe dehydration and the baby vomits too much, hospitalisation to be done in consultation with a physician for proper management. Hand hygiene, proper disposal of excreta and Rotavirus vaccine helps in prevention.

Scabies is a common skin disease  in children during winter. Regular bathing and maintaining hygiene is important. 5% Permethrin cream is to be used according to direction and the whole family needs to be treated simultaneously.

Wishing all the kids a happy and healthy life all the year round.

The author is a Professor of Paediatrics at Community Based Medical College, Mymensingh.

E-mail: mmukkhan@gmail.com

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Posted by on Jan 24 2021. Filed under Health, Kids Page, News at Now. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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