Due to weak and imperfect immune systems, children are in the high risk group of being easily affected by viruses.
In the framework of the workshop “Ways to avoid common diseases for kindergarten children”, Dr Nguyen Tri Doan, a professional in evidence-based medicine and Head of Pediatrics at Victoria Healthcare International Clinic shared his tips regarding common diseases found in kindergarten aged children with over 300 parents.
Vietnam has a humid and rainy climate which is extremely suitable for the spread of infectious diseases. Because of this weather and conditions, children easily suffer from the following infectious diseases:
Viral Cold (including: Rhinitis/Pharyngitis/upper respiratory infection/laryngitis/bronchiolitis etc.)
- Symptoms: fever, cough, rhinorrhea, red eye, ganglion in neck
- Cause: viral infection from person to person
- Length: from 2 to 3 weeks
+ Antibiotics are not effective against this virus
+ Water (milk/breast milk) supplement is highly recommended
+ Reduce symptoms: clean nose with natri clorid, and manage the fever
- Complications: tympanitis, pneumonia, sinusitis caused by germs
- Prevention: wash hands, cover mouth when coughing or sneezing
- Symptoms: earache, fever
- A consequence of the viral cold
- Antibiotics can be used in some cases
- Prevention: breast milk, vaccination (influenza, pneumococcus), avoiding smoky areas
Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease
- Symptoms: fever, red spots or canker sores on inner throat, ulcers/on hand and foot, red spots are found in creases of the knees, elbows and bottom; sore throat, lack of appetite for food and milk
- Spread: via contact with the mouth, saliva, or fluid in sores/bumps
- Length: Mouth sores last 5-7 days; Red spots on hand/feet last 7-10 days
- Treatment: drink cold/iced water; eat ice-cream; soft and lightly salted food
- Symptom: fever, vomiting and diarrhea
- Cause: normally caused by intestinal virus
- Duration: from 1 to 2 weeks
- Treatment: drink water (fresh coconut), eat ice-cream
- Prevention: wash hands with soap and antiseptic cleanser
- Symptoms: high fever (2-7 days), painful body, headache, nausea, loss of appetite, skin hemorrhage found in a few children
- Spread: from person to person via mosquito bites
- Length: a few days
- Complications: cardiac shock (<1%), Gastrointestinal hemorrhage, brain pathology
When children should be medically examined immediately:
- Warning signals: stomachache, continuous vomiting, tired and fidgety, warm-cold hands and feet
Prevention: kill mosquitoes and their larvae, do not create convenient surroundings for mosquito development, stay in air conditioned area, use mosquito nets and anti-mosquito cream containing DEET
Fever: is a natural reaction against infection. It is caused by viruses or bacteria.
- Treatment: drink cold water (iced water, ice cream), rest, wear loose clothing, use paracetamol or ibuprofen to bring down the fever. No need to cool body with water.
Convulsive Fever: rarely appears (2-4% kids from 0 to 6 years of age); but normally appears when body temperature is above 38 degrees Celsius. It will take usually 3 minute per person and there are no complications after.
- Treatment: lie and lean to the left, and clear the mouth area of any objects. After the convulsion, the child should be given fever-reducing medicine and brought to hospital to be examined by a doctor.
When to use antibiotics?
- Being contagious because of bacteria ( not because of a virus)
- Tympanitis (<10%)
- Pneumonia (<20%)
- Urinary infections
- Strep A pharyngitis
When not to use antibiotics:
- Viral cold; upper respiratory virus
- Pharyngitis (tonsils) because of virus (80%)
- Laryngitis, bronchitis, bronchiolitis, viral pneumonia
- Viral Enteritis
Using antibiotics when they are not necessary may lead to future danger and damages for children, as they may become immune to the medicine. Viruses would then spread into communities and develop into a much more dangerous virus which would be harder to treat. Consequently, parents should consider their children’s medicinal intake under their doctors advice and guidelines.