Are Your Kids Protected?

Last December, some members of our family had severe bouts of diarrhea and it was just awful.  Most of us had to take oral hydride tablets to avoid getting dehydrated. My mom almost wanted to admit me to the hospital for dextrose - but thank God my friend sent some Oral Dextrose which i diligently drank every hour.  During those days, one of my fears was really getting my kids infected. I know that diarrhea could be dangerous for smaller children as they're more prone to dehydration.

Ria Tanhuatco-Trillo interviewing Barbie Almalbis-Honasan
A few days ago, I was invited to attend a talk at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).  GSK launched a No Hope Lost campaign to educate parents to vaccinate their children.  The discussion focused on the top two leading causes of mortality and  morbidity among children less than 5 years of age.  Upon hearing 'pneumonia' and 'diarrhea', the mommy in me listened intently. I've heard of friends and families with kids getting confined due to pneumonia and diarrhea. I knew there were risks but i honestly did not realize the gravity of it. 

Facts about Pneumonia:
  • Pneumonia is the single greatest cause of death in children worldwide. In fact, pneumonia is the leading cause of illness and death among Filipino children less than 5 years old. National statistics show an estimated 37 Filipino children die of pneumonia every day.1
  • Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung which affects primarily the microscopic air sacs known as alveoli. 
  • Symptoms: cough, fever, chills, headaches, loss of appetite, wheezing, chest pain, fever, and rapid or difficulty breathing.
Facts about Diarrhea:
  • Diarrhea is defined as having loose or watery stools at least three times per day, or more frequently than a normal individual.
  • Complications: Acute cases can lead to significant fluid loss and dehydration, which may result in death or other severe consequences.
  • Cause: Rotavirus Gastroenteritis (RVGE) is the common cause of diarrhea and severe dehydration in young children.
  • Rotavirus infects virtually every child within the first 5 years of life, irrespective of race or socio-economic status. That is why it is called a “democratic virus.”
On top of the above facts, i also found out that the Rotavirus can stay on solid surfaces for several days. So it's very easy to get infected. This idea frightens me because daughter still thumb sucks once in a while.  I can only imagine the things that she has touched before the thumb goes to the mouth.
Here are some tips that protect your children:
  • Exclusive breastfeeding for at least 6 months (yay! check for both my kids)
  • Adequate nutrition
  • Vitamin A supplementation. Make sure it's included in your child's multi-vitamins
  • Frequent hand washing
  • Vaccinate
SoMoms on the Commitment Board
I was surprised to learn that a lot of parents are still not aware that there are vaccines available to prevent Pneumonia (Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine or PCV) and Rotavirus (Rotavirus Vaccine or RV).  We had both our children vaccinated early on and you should too.  Both vaccines can be administered to infants as early as 6 weeks of age. It is important to follow the correct vaccination schedule as the Rotavirus is more severe and frequent in infants aged 3 to 24 months.

Parents, please ask your pediatricians about these vaccines and protect your child from these lethal diseases.  As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is always better than a pound of cure.

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