Illness

Toddler illness

Acute Infections, Diarrhoea, Colds and Flu

According to the WHO countdown to 2015, it is very unfortunate that diarrhoea and pneumonia still cause more than two million deaths that could be avoided through prevention or prompt treatment.

An upper respiratory infection (URI), also known as the common cold, is one of the most common illnesses, leading to more doctor visits and absences from school and work than any other illness every year. It is estimated that during a one-year period, people in the United States will suffer 1 billion colds.

The increased incidence of colds during the cold season may be attributed to the fact that more children are indoors and close to each other. In addition, many cold viruses thrive in low humidity, making the nasal passages drier and more vulnerable to infection. 

Acute infections in a child may present with diarrhoea. Some of these infections are otitis media, pharyngitis and pneumonia, which are some of the acute respiratory infections (ARI). In Kenya, acute respiratory infections are among the top three leading causes of childhood morbidity and mortality. This is why our government has put strong emphasis on the control of ARI, particularly pneumonia.  

ARI create a heavy burden on our outpatient clinics because it constitutes up to 40% of all the daily Out Patient Department (OPD) attendances especially for children under 5 years of age. Most children, especially those under 5 years of age, have about four to six episodes of acute respiratory infection each year.

Acute respiratory infections are infections of the respiratory tract that last less than 30 days, except acute ear infection that lasts less than 14 days. Antibiotic overuse in children has become a common problem, aggravated by parental pressure for the medication, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Overuse of antibiotics is leading to strains of diseases that are becoming resistant to the medication, making it harder to treat patients. Too often, antibiotics have been prescribed for conditions such as colds, fluid in the middle ear, or bronchitis, which do not respond to antibiotics, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Worried about leaving your child in the nursery with infected children?

Worry no more because it has been proven that prebiotics, which are indigestible carbohydrates, naturally present in human breast milk, can reverse infections as well as prevent their occurrence. The prebiotic oligosaccharides feed the good bacteria originally present in the intestines which thereafter create an atmosphere that inhibits the growth of pathogens which cause infections and diarrhoea. At the same time, the good bacteria stimulate the immune system to effectively destroy pathogens. Another added advantage of prebiotics is that it leads to the passage of soft stools more frequently; meaning that your toddler will have fewer cases of tummy upsets due to constipation.