Common Childhood Diseases

Common Childhood Diseases 1. 1 Introduction Children are more prone to diseases. They catch disease easily and recover fast too. You must learn to protect your children from diseases and also from many other problems which can be prevented, if you care a little. In this lesson, you will learn about some diseases which are more likely to affect a child in the first few years of life. 1. 2 Objectives explain the importance of immunisation for children; give the immunisation schedule for children; group some common childhood diseases as a) those against which a child can be immunised ) those which occur repeatedly, but are not severe; explain the causes, symptoms and prevention of common diseases; take care of a sick child. 1. 3 Immunisation Schedule Even though medical science has not advanced to the stage when a person could be immunised against all the diseases, immunisation against many diseases is possible. Most of the immunisation shots have to be administered during childhood- only then are they effective. In the case of some of the diseases, immunisation has only a short term effect and therefore has to be taken repeatedly. For example, immunisation against typhoid has to be taken every year.

Similarly, to guard against tetanus, you should take immunisation every year. If this is not the case, then it must be definitely taken if an injury has occurred or an accident has taken place. On the other hand, in the case of tuberculosis, the immunisation shot taken during infancy is effective for the entire lifetime. The same is true for diphtheria, whooping cough, polio and measles also. Timely immunisation of the child against diphtheria, whooping cough, tuberculosis, measles, chickenpox and polio, gives protection from these diseases forever. Immunisation, however, is effective only if it is given at the right age.

The following table gives you the immunisation schedule and the correct age at which immunisation against the various diseases should be given. IMMUNISATION SCHEDULE WHEN WHAT WHY 0 – 3 months BCG Vaccine Protects against tuberculosis 1? -9 months 3 doses of DPT Protects against diphtheria and Polio vaccine at whooping cough, tetanus, intervals of polio 4-6 weeks each 9-12 months Chickenpox Protects against chickenpox 9-12 months Measles vaccine Protects against measles 15 months MMR Protects against measles, mumps and rubella 1-2 years Ist booster for Protects against diptheria,

DPT and Polio whooping cough, tetanus, polio 5-6 years DT booster Protect against diphtheria and tetanus. Pulse Polio is the name given to the programme run by the Government of India to erradicate polio from our country. DPT stands for Diptheria, Pertusis (whooping cough) and Tetanus Common Childhood Diseases :: 215 Vaccines are also available for Hepatitis B and typhoid and can be given depending upon the availability of the vaccine and ability of the person to pay. As you can see, immunisation for certain diseases is given in more than one dose, spread over a few months.

Each one of these doses is essential for complete protection. The second dose is called the ‘booster dose’. Remember, if at any stage you miss out on even one dose, the immunisation will not be effective and will have to be started all over again. Immediately after the child has been immunised, you may find that the child has mild fever. However, there is no reason to worry as the fever will not last longer than a day or two. Diarrhoea is very common in children. As you know, in diarrhoea, the faeces are watery and defaecation occurs many times during the day; as many as 15-20 times.

As a result, a lot of water and mineral salts are lost from the body. This condition is called dehydration. Dehydration can lead to death. In fact, every year, thousands of children in our country die because of dehydration. This is all the more sad because their lives could have been saved so easily. To prevent dehydration, take a glass of water (boiled and cooled). Mix in a handful of sugar and a pinch of salt. Make the patient drink it frequently, at least after every defaecation. This should be done not only in the case of diarrhoea, but also in dysentery and cholera.