RESPIRATORY DISEASES / LUGWEGAANDOENINGS

Most of us who have children know that chest infections occur rather regularly and are often accompanied by throat and ear infections. Doctors are often asked what causes these infections and also why children keep getting chest infections. Today we would like to share some interesting facts regarding this condition. 

WHAT CAUSES REPEATED CHEST INFECTIONS?

The majority are caused by viruses which are not treatable, but occasionally bacteria may follow the viruses into the chest (called secondary infection) and can be treated by antibiotics. Most South African mothers work outside the home and children go to day mothers and nursery schools. Viral diseases spread easily when children are together in groups and there is no way of preventing this.  All children must naturally go through a series of colds and infections and thereby build up immunity. Unfortunately, what often happens is that young children no sooner recover from one infection that weakens their resistance, than they catch another. The repeated infections may also be caused by chronic infection that settles in the sinuses, adenoids or nose.  

IS MY KIND ALLERGIES?

Dikwels is  dit baie moeilik om vas te stel of u kind se simptome te wyte is aan allergieë of infeksies - veral as die kind onder drie jaar oud is. Die simptome is dikwels dieselfde. Die kind kan 'n reaksie teen iets (stof, stuifmeel) hê en daarbenewens ook 'n infeksie opdoen. U geneesheer kan bloed- of veltoetse aanvra om te bepaal of u kind allergies is en waarvoor hy/sy allergies is. Dit sal aantoon wat vermy moet word. Indien u of u huweliksmaat aan allergieë ly, of familielede het wat aan hooikoors, asma, ekseem ens. ly, kan dit deur u kinders oorgeërf word. 

WAT U KAN DOEN OM VERDERE LUGWEGINFEKSIES TE VOORKOM

Een van die grootste frustrasies vir ouers sowel as geneeshere, is dat daar dikwels min is wat gedoen kan word, behalwe om maar deur te druk met die herhalende infeksies totdat die kind sy eie immuniteit ontwikkel het. Byt maar vas wanneer u deur'n tydperk gaan waarin u kind herhaalde kursusse antbiotika benodig. Hierdie antibiotika genees nie slegs die bakteriële infeksies nie, maar voorkom ook komplikasies. Daar bestaan 'n mite dat "te veel antibiotika skadelik is." Dit is nie waar nie. Moderne antibiotika is veilig en verloor nie effektiwiteit deur herhaalde gebruik nie. Hulle voordele weeg veel swaarder as die feit dat bepaalde organismes weerstandig teen hulle kan raak. Daar is bewyse dat bepaalde vitamiene (bv. vitamien C) meewerk om 'n mens teen infeksies te beskerm. Vitamiene kan egter nie 'n goed gebalanseerde dieet wat van die allergrootste belang vir groeiende kinders is, vervang nie. Griep-inspuitings word gewoonlik nie aangedui vir kinders onder die ouderdom van 6 maande nie. Dit mag help as u voorskoolse kind tydelik uit die speelgroep of kleuterskool gehaal word om hom/haar 'n blaaskansie weg van die virusbelaaide omgewing gee.  

TYPES OF CHEST INFECTIONS

There are several different types of infections which occur at different ages. 

Bronchitis is a viral or bacterial infection that occurs in the tiny tubes in a baby's chest most commonly between 2 and 11 months. The baby coughs, has a tight chest and noisy fast breathing. It lasts for between 5 and 14 days and can be a potentially dangerous condition. Consult your doctor.

Asthma, (which often runs in families) is a condition that some children have in response to an infection or stimulus if they are predisposed to the disease.  It causes a tight chest and wheezing, especially on expiration.

Croup means "to croak" and the child suddenly and often at night starts with a harsh, barking cough, croupy breathing and hoarseness. Steam is usually beneficial. DO NOT give over-the-counter remedies or use drying cough mixtures as it aggravates the croup.

Whooping cough (pertussis) may present in an altered form despite immunisation. It is sometimes called the 90-day cough. The child has paroxysms of coughing which end in vomiting or retching. This may go on for 3 to 4 months despite the fact that the actual infection is over.  

BEHANDELING/TREATMENT

Gee baie vloeistowwe tydens enige infeksie. Water, vrugtesappe, koeldranke, elektroliete ens. in klein hoeveelhede, maar gereeld.

Vermy sappe wat swaeldioksied of ander preserveermiddels bevat, want dit kan bronchospasma (spasma van die lugpype) veroorsaak.

Your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic if there is a secondary infection or to prevent complications.Cough mixtures may help suppress a dry painful cough,especially at night. Put a kettle or humidifier on in the bedroom or sit with your child in a steam-filled shower room or bathroom. Bronchiolitis on the other hand, occasionally becomes worse with steam, so ask your doctor about this.

Aërosolpompe, inhaleerders en verstuiwers kan voorgeskryf word. Die nuwe inhaleerders beskik oor meetapparate en maatkamers (aero-chambers) wat dit vir kleiner kinders moontlik maak om die medisyne in sproeivorm in te asem.

Fever is safely treated with paracetamol. Preferably, aspirin should not be used by young children. In rare cases, it may cause a serious adverse reaction.

Neusdruppels kan u kind help indien die neus toe is en voeding bemoeilik. Dit kan ook help om drukking in die ore te verlig.

Besoek of skakel weer u geneesheer indien u bekommerd is oor u kind. Indien die kind nie wil eet of drink nie of 'n aanhoudende hoë koors het, behoort u kind voor die einde van die dag deur 'n geneesheer ondersoek te word. In very rare instances your child may, within a few hours, become restless and drowsy, sit up with his/her mouth open, dribble and be unable to swallow. If this happens, it is a medical emergency called epiglotitis and you must then IMMEDIATELY take your child to a hospital emergency room.

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