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BYE BYE BABY BLUES

There's nothing quite as disconcerting as having to deal with a child's illnesses, especially among newborns and infants up to the age of one year, since they are not able to communicate their symptoms clearly. "With better vaccine converage and heightened oral rehydration programmes (for diarrhoea) nationwide, the pattern of infant illnesses has changed," says Dr.R Khubchandani, paediatric consultant at Mumbai's Jaslok and Breach Candy hospitals."Cases of vaccine-preventable diseases like whooping cough and measles along with diarrhoea have reduced," he adds. Let's take a look at some of the most common ailments and infections that plague the zero to 12-month age group today...

UPPER RESPIRATORY TRACT INFECTIONS

"Viral fevers, middle ear infections, sometimes even bronchitis and pneumonia, are fairly ommon in the infant age group," says Dr.Jagdish Chinnappa, consulting paediatric specialist with Bangalore's Manipal Hospital.

BRONCHITIS Inflammation of the bronchi(the main airways to the lungs)is called bronchitis. This condition is usually a complication of a viral infection such as a common cold or influenza, but can be caused by a bacterial infection.

SYMPTOMS Similar to a common cold, but it includes high fever (102 deg F), a harsh cough that gets worse at night and greenish/yellow sputum as well as wheezing or whistling.

CAUSES Usually a viral infection, it can also be caused by bacteria.

TREATMENT Antibiotics and symptomatic relief for cough. Administer warm drinks to relieve the cough.

PREVENTIVE MEASURES: Keep the environment smoke free. Air in the child's room should be moist(use a humidifier or take the child to the bathroom and turn on the hot water taps to humidify the air rapidly).

EAR INFECTION: (OTITIS MEDIA) Inflammation of the middle ear is a common cause of ear-ache in young children. It is often a painful complication of an upper respiratory tract infection such as a common cold or a throat infection.

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