“Immunize For A Healthy Future”. This is the theme of this year’s WORLD IMMUNIZATION WEEK celebrated by the World Health Organization this April 24-30. According to WHO, 2-3 million deaths per year are prevented by immunization. Here are some of the ad campaign photos from the UNICEF Facebook page with the hashtag VaccinesWork. #VaccinesWork.
In the article Breastfeeding Awareness Month, we learned about the advantages of breastfeeding to both the baby and the mother. What is important now is for mothers to stay committed to breastfeeding to ensure its success.
The success of breastfeeding also lies on the support from the people surrounding the mother, from the husband, other members of the family and friends.
Support for breastfeeding from the workplace is also encouraged. This calls for offices and workmates to show support to mothers with a newborn and to provide a breastfeeding-friendly environment for them.
These graphics are taken from the WHO website in their promotion of breastfeeding for this year’s World Breastfeeding Week. World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated from August 1 to 7 every year.
These summer safety tips – sun and water safety are taken from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Follow these tips and keep your family safe this summer.
Fun in the Sun
Babies under 6 months:
- The two main recommendations from the AAP to prevent sunburn are to avoid sun exposure, and todress infants in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and brimmed hats that shade the neck to prevent sunburn. However, when adequate clothing and shade are not available, parents can apply a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF (sun protection factor) to small areas, such as the infant’s face and the back of the hands. If an infant gets sunburn, apply cool compresses to the affected area.
For All Other Children:
- The first, and best, line of defense against harmful ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure is covering up. Wear a hat with a three-inch brim or a bill facing forward, sunglasses (look for sunglasses that provide 97% -100% protection against both UVA and UVB rays), and cotton clothing with a tight weave.
- Stay in the shade whenever possible, and limit sun exposure during the peak intensity hours – between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- On both sunny and cloudy days use a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or greater that protects against UVA and UVB rays.
- Be sure to apply enough sunscreen — about one ounce per sitting for a young adult.
- Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.
- Use extra caution near water and sand as they reflect UV rays and may result in sunburn more quickly.
Heat Stress in Exercising Children
- The intensity of activities that last 15 minutes or more should be reduced whenever high heat and humidity reach critical levels.
- At the beginning of a strenuous exercise program or after traveling to a warmer climate, the intensity and duration of exercise should be limited initially and then gradually increased during a period of 7 to 14 days to acclimatize to the heat, particularly if it is very humid.
- Before prolonged physical activity, children should be well-hydrated and should not feel thirsty. For the first hour of exercise, water alone can be used. Kids should have water or a sports drink always available and drink every 20 minutes while exercising in the heat. Excessively hot and humid environments, more prolonged and strenuous exercise, and copious sweating should be reasons for children to substantially increase their fluid intake. After an hour of exercise, children need to drink a carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage to replace electrolytes lost in sweat and provide carbohydrates for energy.
- Clothing should be light-colored and lightweight and limited to one layer of absorbent material to facilitate evaporation of sweat. Sweat-saturated shirts should be replaced by dry clothing.
- Practices and games played in the heat should be shortened and more frequent water/hydration breaks should be instituted. Children should seek cooler environments if they feel excessively hot or fatigued.
- Never leave children alone in or near the pool or spa, even for a moment.
- Install a fence at least 4 feet high around all four sides of the pool. The fence should not have openings or protrusions that a young child could use to get over, under, or through.
- Make sure pool gates open out from the pool, and self-close and self-latch at a height children can’t reach.
- If the house serves as the fourth side of a fence surrounding a pool, install an alarm on the exit door to the yard and the pool.
- Keep rescue equipment (a shepherd’s hook — a long pole with a hook on the end — and life preserver) and a portable telephone near the pool. Choose a shepherd’s hook and other rescue equipment made of fiberglass or other materials that do not conduct electricity.
- Avoid inflatable swimming aids such as “floaties.” They are not a substitute for approved life vests and can give children and parents a false sense of security.
- Children ages 1 to 4 may be at a lower risk of drowning if they have had some formal swimming instruction. However, there is no evidence that swimming lessons or water survival skills courses can prevent drowning in babies younger than 1 year of age.
- The decision to enroll a 1- to 4-year-old child in swimming lessons should be made by the parent and based on the child’s developmental readiness, but swim programs should never be seen as “drown proofing” a child of any age.
- Whenever infants or toddlers are in or around water, an adult – preferably one who knows how to swim and perform CPR – should be within arm’s length, providing “touch supervision.”
- Avoid entrapment: Suction from pool and spa drains can trap a swimmer underwater. Do not use a pool or spa if there are broken or missing drain covers. Ask your pool operator if your pool or spa’s drains are compliant with the Pool and Spa Safety Act. If you have a swimming pool or spa, ask your pool service representative to update your drains and other suction fitting with anti-entrapment drain covers and other devices or systems. SeePoolSafely.gov for more information on the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act.
- Large, inflatable, above-ground pools have become increasingly popular for backyard use. Children may fall in if they lean against the soft side of an inflatable pool. Although such pools are often exempt from local pool fencing requirements, it is essential that they be surrounded by an appropriate fence just as a permanent pool would be so that children cannot gain unsupervised access.
- Children should wear life jackets at all times when on boats or near bodies of water.
- Make sure the life jacket is the right size for your child. The jacket should not be loose. It should always be worn as instructed with all straps belted.
- Blow-up water wings, toys, rafts and air mattresses should not be used as life jackets or personal flotation devices. Adults should wear life jackets for their own protection, and to set a good example.
- Adolescents and adults should be warned of the dangers of boating when under the influence of alcohol, drugs, and even some prescription medications.
Open Water Swimming
- Never swim alone. Even good swimmers need buddies!
- A lifeguard (or another adult who knows about water rescue) needs to be watching children whenever they are in or near the water. Younger children should be closely supervised while in or near the water – use “touch supervision,” keeping no more than an arm’s length away.
- Make sure your child knows never to dive into water except when permitted by an adult who knows the depth of the water and who has checked for underwater objects.
- Never let your child swim in canals or any fast moving water.
- Ocean swimming should only be allowed when a lifeguard is on duty.
- Teach children about rip tides. If you are caught in a rip tide, swim parallel to shore until you escape the current, and then swim back to shore.
This article is taken from the Newborn Screening Reference Center website. This will help enlighten parents of babies who had a positive screening and confirmatory test results to Glucose-6-phospate dehydrogenase (G6PD) Deficiency.
|Frequently Asked Questions on G6PD Deficiency|
|What is G6PD deficiency?Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, or G6PD deficiency for short, is the most common “inborn metabolic disorder” in the world. This means that from the time a baby is born, thre is already something wrong with how his body makes and breaks important substances. According to statistics, about 400 million people have G6PD deficiency, and it is most common in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.Babies with G6PD deficiency have very little or no enzyme called Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (G6PD). An enzyme is a kind of protein that speeds up chemical reactions in the body. The enzyme G6PD is especially important to red blood cells. If this enzyme is lacking or missing, red blood cells are easily destroyed.
Another name for G6PD deficiency is favism because some people who have it, usually those living in the Meditteranean region, react very badly to fava beans.
What causes G6PD deficiency?
Genes are like the body’s blueprints. They contain instructions on how specific parts of the body are made. For example, if the isntructions in your hair genes say your hair is black, your hair will be black. Genes are packaged into threadlike structures called chromosomes. A chromosome is very much like a beaded bracelet. The beads are the different genes that give instructions for different part of the body; the entire bracelet is the chromosome. Genes usually come and act in pairs. One member of a specific pair comes from the father, and the other member comes from the mother. The members of a pair are located on paired chromosomes.
All normal human beings have 23 pairs of chromosomes. Each of the first 22 pairs contain the same number and kind of genes. The last and 23rd pair is the sex chromosomes. They are different from the first 22 pairs in that they do not have the same number and kind of genes. The sex chromosomes contain the genes that determine whether a baby will be a girl or a boy.
There are 2 kinds of sex chromosomes, X and Y. All baby girls have two X chromosomes. All baby boys have one X and one Y. The gene that gives instructions on how G6PD is made is found in the X chromosome only, thus G6PD deficiency is described as X-linked.
If a baby girl gets one defective G6PD gene from either of her parents, she will not have G6PD deficiency because she has another G6PD gene that can do the work (remember: a baby girl has two X chromosomes, thus two G6PD genes). But if she gets two defective G6PD genes from both her parents, she will have G6PD deficiency. On the other hand, a baby boy whose G6PD gene is defective will surely get G6PD deficiency because the Y chromosome has no G6PD gene.
A defective G6PD gene will give wrong instructions on how to make the enzyme G6PD. As a result, too little or none of it is made.
What are the harmful effects of G6PD deficiency?
A baby with G6PD deficiency appears and remains healthy until he is exposed to a large amount of oxidative substances. When this happens, his red blood cells are destroyed, a process known as hemolysis.
Red blood cells carry oxygen to all parts of the body. When they undergo hemolysis, the baby will have hemolytic anemia. The signs and symptoms of hemolytic anemia are paleness, dizziness, headache, tea-colored urine, and abdominal or back pain or both. Hemolytic anemia, when very severe, can end in death. Destroyed red blood cells are brought to the liver to be broken down to smaller pieces for disposal. One of the end products of this process is bilirubin, a yellowish substance that accumulates in different parts of the body when too much of it is produced. Quite often, bilirubin accumulates in the skin and causes it to appear yellowish. In the worst cases, biliribin accumulates in the brain and causes mental retardation or death.
Where do oxidative substances come from?
Most drugs with strong oxidative effects are of kinds:
How is G6PD deficiency treated?
When a child has taken oxidative substances and suddenly shows the signs and symptoms of hemolytic anemia, he is said to have a hemolytic crisis. During such crisis, the goal of doctors and nurses is to prevent the harmful effects from getting worse. Blood transfusion, oxygen, and folic acid may be given.
The ultimate treatment for G6PD deficiency is gene theraphy (replacing a defective gene with a good one), but this is not yet available at the present time.
As parent, what should I do to prevent a hemolytic crisis?
WHO Growth Charts for children 0-5 years old: Head circumference, Length/Height for age, and Weight for age.