Today I’m starting a series of articles about common childhood illnesses and the most effective recovery methods. In my previous article I’ve already told you about child health disorders but connected mostly with nutrition.
In this series of articles we will consider the necessary questions young parents should know:
1. to get theoretical information and learn how to understand some medical terms;
2. to know what it is necessary to do and what you must not do in some standard and very frequent situations. Understand what it is done for;
3. to understand and to be aware of the questions that only a doctor can answer.
There’s no any child who is always healthy in the world. Children suffer mostly from infectious diseases, and there is nothing to be surprised about because an infant lives a natural way of life – he does not eat spicy and salty food, does not quarrel with the boss, does not drink alcohol, etc. Therefore, such diseases as heart attack, stomach ulcer, asthma, diabetes and others can hardly happen to him.
Hardening and lifestyle cannot completely prevent child ailments. Everyone meets in his life a huge number of microbes. And unless there’s immunity developed to the majority of them in the body, infectious diseases are inevitable. But there is always a microorganism that cannot be defeated. So both children and adults get ill. And it does not matter – to be ill or not but how often and how hard we are ill matter.
It is difficult to explain the meaning of the word immunity from theoretical and medical points of view. But for our mutual understanding this explanation is enough: immunity is the body’s ability to defend itself. To protect from everything unnatural for the body: from viruses and bacteria, poisons, from certain drugs, from abnormalities in the body (cancer cells, for example). How this is formed – let physicians know it.
Obviously, a person’s ability to resist infections is determined by immunity strength of which depends primarily on the lifestyle. And there are only three natural immune stimulants – hunger, cold and physical activity.
But you don’t need to deliberately starve children, force them to freeze and run 30 kilometers a day. Opposite actions are more important: excess food and warmth, lack of motor activity quickly lead to immunosuppression (frequent infections) or wrong work of immunity (allergies or infectious-allergic diseases). And the child’s lifestyle must let his immunity develop naturally – you don’t need to overstimulate immunity and prevent its normal development.
You should know that a newborn has almost the same blood as the one his mother has. That is, he already has a natural immunity to those infectious diseases that mother has suffered from. But it will last only for 3-4 months (for 6 months if you breastfeed, of course).
Now let’s talk about infectious diseases. They are caused by two major groups of microorganisms – viruses and bacteria.
Viral infections are famous ARI (acute respiratory infections) – measles, chickenpox, rubella, etc. characterized primarily by the fact that it is almost impossible to find the medicine that is able to kill the virus in the body (viruses are inside the body’s cells and it is very difficult to kill the virus and leave the cells alive). Therefore, the main principle of treatment these infections is to help the body to defeat the virus by itself.
Bacterial infections (scarlet fever, tuberculosis, dysentery, tonsillitis, meningitis and pneumonia) are treated in a very different way – there are several groups of drugs that are able to kill a microbe and not to harm the human body significantly. You have certainly heard of these medications – antibiotics (penicillin, tetracycline, gentamicin), sulfonamides (streptocide, etazol, biseptol). Every physician knows (he was being taught this for many years) which microbe can cause a specific disease and which antibiotic can theoretically help.
And you (parents) should ask the physician about the cause of the disease – is it a virus or bacteria? And if it is a viral disease, the main healers are time and regime (air, food, drink, clothing), and if it is a bacterial one – only the doctor can help, and the sooner the better.
There are viral infections that are difficult for the body to cope with and if it does, it can result in severe complications. Very often, the disease starts as a viral one, but subsequently complications develop caused by bacteria. For example, acute respiratory infections (common viral cold) result in pneumonia. And you need to know how to help your child to reduce the risks of complications.
Now we know something about infectious diseases in general. This knowledge is surface, but do not try to delve into it – medicine is the science where insufficient knowledge is much more dangerous than ignorance.
It’s necessary to note that in most cases the body of a normal child which is naturally brought up is capable enough to cope with infectious diseases by himself. And our main task is not to interfere with the body’s work!
Nearly all the manifestations of a disease – fever, runny nose, cough, unwillingness to eat – are the ways the body uses to beat a causative organism (virus or bacteria). And modern remedies can make a miracle – to lower the temperature in a trice, to “turn off” a runny nose and cough, etc. And, unfortunately, many of these medications are there in your home first aid kit. So, you having a little knowledge try to make an easier life for both you and your baby … And as a result, instead of three days of runny nose one can get three weeks in the hospital with pneumonia. I say this for you, while reading the written recommendation in the next articles, to pay special attention to your actions that you shouldn’t do in any case.
In the next articles you will learn in details about the main manifestations of infectious diseases and the main methods of treatment:
– immunity and immune stimulants;
– infectious diseases;
– temperature rise;
– runny nose;
– cough and breathing difficulty;
– ear disorders;
– diarrhea and vomiting;
– bed rest;
– antibiotics and hemoglobin;
– reasons for crying;
– home first aid kit.