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7 things a paediatrician wants you to know

Dr. Rajeev Seth, Director and Head, Department of Paediatrics, VPS Rockland Hospital elaborates.

Paediatricians can be one of the most valuable resources in raising a healthy kid and their guidance can be useful and even life-saving in some cases too. But what we should know is to keep ourselves informed about a few things before setting foot into the doctor's office. Dr. Rajeev Seth, Director and Head, Department of Paediatrics, VPS Rockland Hospital, New Delhi, talks about a few things that all parents should be informed about:

1. It is important to keep your child hydrated, especially when he or she is suffering from cold or fever: In cold or fever, child's water maintenance requirement increases by 10-20%. Moreover, your child may have a lack of appetite (anorexia), vomiting etc, leading to dehydration, for which child should be kept well hydrated.

2. A high fever isn't always crisis: Yes indeed, a height of fever may not always correlate with the degree of fever, except in very small children below 2years. The fever may be high but infection might not be severe! Fever can be high due to endotoxins released by bacteria, or simply due to the individual susceptibility of children

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3. Don't ask if I'll take a "quick look" at your child: You should never ask for a "quick look". A thorough assessment of the child needs detailed history, examination, plans for investigations and treatment. You may miss to do all these in a quick look, which can lead to mistakes in diagnosis.

4. Germs are everywhere but can be tackled: Hand washing before and after examination of the patient is the most effective method to prevent spread of germs. Maintenance of proper hygiene is crucial. One should brush his or her teeth twice daily; take regular bath and wash hands after use of toilet. If you are coughing, you should cover your mouth during cough episodes by your upper arm. When we visit a sick and contagious patient, it is always advisable to use face mask.

5. Getting your child flu shots is important:You must ensure that your child is not too sick before a routine vaccination. Flu vaccinations should be given at appropriate times of the year, and dose in children less than 3 years is half of the adult dose. In addition, any person allergic to egg should not receive a flu shot, as most of these vaccines are prepared in egg medium. The vaccine should always be given in a doctor's office, where appropriate medications, such as adrenaline, resuscitation facilities are available for any adverse allergic reactions

6. Serve milk wisely in the right quantities: Milk is very important for children. Every ml of milk has about 1mg of calcium. In addition, milk has proteins, micronutrients and immunoglobulin's, more so in breast milk, which protects the infant from vital infections. Breast feed should be insisted over formula feeds. No cow's milk should be given to a child below one year to avoid cow's milk protein allergy.

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