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Pay more attention to children to prevent seasonal infections and diseases: Expert

Pay more attention to children to prevent 
seasonal infections and diseases: Expert

Meriam Jelliti
Doha
Respiratory diseases are more common among children during winter season between November and February when viruses are widely spread and active, according to Dr Shihab M. Ameen al Barazanji, consultant, Paediatric Emergency, at Al Wakra Hospital .
Emphasising the need to educate people and raise awareness about their children’s health and well-being, Dr Shihab urged parents to pay more attention to their wards during the seasonal viral infections and diseases.
“The most common diseases among children are respiratory diseases, including flu and cold. Symptoms include sneezing, coughing or running nose and sometimes fever and more severe signs that need symptomatic or supportive treatment,” he said.
To prevent and treat the diseases, the doctor recommended good hygiene, especially for school age children, hydration and warm fluids.
He said, “When a child is ill, it is recommended that they should not attend school for them to have the needed rest and to make sure the diseases are not transmitted to other children.Seeing a doctor is a must whether it is a simple or a severe illness.
“Another important factor that we highly encourage is the vaccine. The influenza vaccine in particular is an annual vaccine and it is very affective and useful, and it can be given to babies from the age of six months until children of school age. Another common disease is gastroenteritis, also a viral illness mostly caused by three viruses -- rotavirus, norovirus and adenovirus. The disease can also be caused by bacteria.”
Al Barazanji added, “We concentrate on oral hydration therapy and the BRAT diet. Avoidance of all greasy and sweet food is also recommended.”
According to the expert, other common illnesses among children are dermatologic diseases and trauma diseases, as well as visual and hearing difficulties.
He said, “We encourage parents and teachers to pay attention to children when noticing a lack of concentration or a change of behaviour. We regularly receive all these conditions in the paediatric emergency units and our outcome is very good and we always try to be updated with all diseases, especially the modern ones.
“We are very aware of the latest illnesses and treatments. We are always updating ourselves as a medical cadre and always in touch with new international paediatric guidelines.”
Speaking about antibiotics, Barazanji said they must be avoided and only used for bacterial infection treatment.
He added, “Antibiotics are only bought with a prescription, some doctors are flexible with giving them, and some families still think antibiotics are the only means of treatment. This eventually builds a resistance in the bodies which make the medication ineffective by time.”
Talking about bad dietary habits, Barazanji said people are not very aware of the consequences of junk food, and this is a problem that needs more attention.
“Healthy food is important, especially for schoolchildren. They need it because they are still growing, learning their lifestyle and habits,” he said.
When asked about children’s mental health, he said it’s as important as the physical health.
“The child is usually examined by primary health care centre which is a part of the evaluation preceding school registration, and family history and early diagnoses help in understanding the child’s condition,” he said.

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