Quick guidelines: Treating fever in infants!

Being a parent is scary, especially if you are someone who is new to this challenging role. And yes, it’s heart-rending to see your little ones in any kind of discomfort.

Quick guidelines Treating fever in infants!

High temperatures have been one such common thing that is seen in infants causing fear and confusion among parents. But there’s no need to panic even if your baby has temperatures because most fevers are harmless and caused by a mild infection.

Here are a few quick tips to treat when your baby has a fever:

  • If your baby is less than 3 months old and has temperature of 100.4 F and above, call the doctor even if the child looks comfortable and doesn’t have any other signs and symptoms.
  • Consult the doctor before treating your child with medicines.
  • Make your baby drink plenty of fluids.
  • Do not allow your child to take too much fruit or apple juice (mix them with one half of water).
  • In children, between 3-6 months of age, if the temperature reads 102 F, medication is not required unless your baby develops some kind of unusual behaviour.
  • Try giving your baby a lukewarm bath or sponge bath as it may help cool the fever. But, never give your baby cold/ice baths as these may worsen the condition.
  • For babies under 6 months, doctors recommend giving acetaminophen. However, if the child is of 6 months or older, either acetaminophen or ibuprofen is often recommended.
  • Never give aspirin to your child if he/she is younger than 18 years of age.
  • Encourage your baby to have some sleep.
  • Take your child to the doctor if he/she has fevers that come on and off for a week or more even if the temperature is not that high.

Source: Zee news

Today Is World Health Day – Prevent Vector Borne Diseases


Over 1 million people all around the world die due to vector borne diseases. Focusing mainly on the increasing threat of viral and parasitic infections caused by insects, this year’s World Health Day (April 7) highlights ‘Prevention of vector borne diseases.’

Vector borne diseases are diseases caused by pathogens that are transmitted to humans through insects and ticks carrying the pathogen. They are difficult to prevent because of several challenges facing the control of vectors and transmissibility of the pathogens. Here are top 10 vector borne diseases that contribute to increased morbidity and mortality:

1. Malaria: According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), malaria is the deadliest of all vector-borne diseases, which accounts for nearly 1.2 million deaths all over the world every year and is prevalent in about 100 countries. The disease is caused by the protozoan parasite Plasmodium. The most common species of Plasmodium responsible for most malaria cases are Plasmodm flaciparum and Plasmodium vivax. The parasite is transmitted to humans via the vector female Anopheles mosquito. The mosquito bearing the protozoa transmits the disease to humans by biting at night. The parasite then attacks the red blood cells and reaches the liver causing symptoms like fever, chills and anemia.

2. Kala Azar: Leishmaniasis or Kala Azar ranks second (malaria being the first on the list) on the list of fatal diseases caused by parasites. It is mainly prevalent in India, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Brazil and Sudan. It is caused by protozoan parasite of the genus Leishmania. In India, Leishmania donovani is the only parasite causing the disease. The parasite is transmitted to humans by female sand flies. Upon entry, the parasite attacks the immune system and causes ulcers or sores at the site of entry.

3. Dengue: Dengue is common in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. In the recent years, transmission of dengue has significantly increased in urban areas and has become a major public health concern. According to the current estimates of WHO, dengue infections have reached 50–100 million worldwide, annually. Dengue is caused by a virus that is transmitted to humans by the vector Aedes Aegypti mosquito.

4. Plague: Plague had an explosive epidemic and was a major health concern at the beginning of the 20th century. It is a deadly disease caused by the bacteria Yersina pestis. It is primarily transmitted by rodents. But it is also spread through insects that acquire the infection from rats harboring the bacteria. Common insect that acquires the bacteria from rodents is flea. The bacteria enter the blood stream after a flea bite and attack the cells of the immune system. They secrete toxins which causes clots and tissue death.

5. Filariasis: Lymphatic filariasis is commonly called elephantiasis. Although the disease is quite widespread, it is neglected diseases because it is more disfiguring and disabling than fatal. Currently, more than 120 million people are infected and nearly 40 million people suffer from the fully developed disease. Filariasis is caused by thread like filarial worms or nematodes. Wuchereria bancrofti is the most common filarial worm, causing the disease in 90 percent of the cases. The worm is carried by and transmitted to humans by mosquitoes –mainly Culex mosquito. The worm invades the lymphatic system causing profuse selling mainly in the legs.

6. Chickungunya: Chickungunya has been identified in 40 different countries including India. It is caused by a virus classified under the family Togaviridae, genus Alphavirus. It is transmitted to humans by Aedes mosquito (mainly Aedes aegypti) in the daytime. Common symptoms of the disease are similar to dengue.

7. Lyme disease: Lyme disease is caused by the spirochete bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. It is transmitted to humans by black-legged ticks that are infected with the bacteria. Upon entry, the bacterium attacks the central nervous system and causes neurological problems.

8. Yellow fever: Mainly found tropical South America and sub-Saharan Africa region, yellow fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease. The disease is caused by the yellow fever virus and spread by female mosquito of Aedes aegypti species. The virus affects the cells of the immune system and causes symptoms like fever, chills, nausea and muscle pain.

9. Chagas’ disease: Chagas’ Disease is widely found in communities of Latin America. It is caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi and transmitted by a large insect called ‘kissing bug’ (Reduviidae Tratominae). The parasite damage several organs and mainly affects heart function.

10. Japanese encephalitis: It is a viral disease that is spread through infected Culex mosquito. The virus mainly affects the central nervous system and causes headache, fever, meningitis, coma, tremors, paralysis and loss of coordination. Several cases of the disease have been found in India. The most affected states include Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.

Source: Naira land

Faster way to catch food poisoning microbes

A team of scientists, led by an Indian-origin researcher Sibani Lisa Biswal, has developed a faster method to catch unwanted microbes before they can make people sick with food poisoning.

The Rice University scientists used an array of tiny ‘nanomechanical cantilevers’, anchored at one end, kind of like little diving boards.

The cantilevers have peptides attached to them that bind to Salmonella – one of the pathogens most commonly associated with foodborne illness which can cause fever, diarrhoea and abdominal cramps.

When the bacteria bind to the peptides, the cantilever arm bends, creating a signal.

The screening system rapidly distinguished Salmonella from other types of bacteria in a sample.

One of the peptides could tell eight different types of Salmonella apart from each other.

The researchers stated that the technique could be applied to other common food pathogens.

“The new approach for pathogen screening is far faster than current commercial methods,” said Biswal, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Rice University.

Conventional methods to detect harmful bacteria in food are reliable and inexpensive, but they can be complicated, time consuming and thus allow contamination to go undetected.

The findings are reported in the ACS journal Analytical Chemistry.

Source: sify


Think twice before giving your child paracetamol!

A new study has found that paracetamol can interfere with the brain development of children, and can even be dangerous for unborn kids.

Researchers at Uppsala University examined paracetamol, one of the most commonly used drugs for pain and fever in children, by giving small doses of it to ten-day-old mice. They later carried out tests on the behavioral habits of the mice in adulthood.

They found that the mice could be hyperactive in adulthood, could display behavioural disturbances, and could have lower memory capability compared to the mice that weren’t given the dose, the Local reported.

Researchers said that the exposure to and presence of paracetamol during a critical period of brain development can induce long-lasting effects on cognitive function and alter the adult response to paracetamol in mice.

They added that parents should be careful in administering the drug. (Read: Why you don’t need medicine every time you have slight fever)

Researcher Henrik Viberg told the Upsala Nya Tidning newspaper that this shows that there are reasons to restrict the use of paracetamol at the end of pregnancy and to hold back from giving the medicine to infants.

The study was published in the online Toxicological Sciences journal.

So when should I take antipyretics like Paracetamol?

Fever up to 38 degree (102° F) might be considered as a safe, beneficial level that should not be interfered with antipyretics every time. Antipyretics should be used only when the temperature of the body is raised high enough to cause discomfort. In general, body temperature between 102° F and 104°F may cause uneasiness, so it’s better to bring it up to or below 102° F. Fever that rises above 104° F is definitely harmful and should be reduced with quick action. (Read: Apollo Hospitals launches fever clinic to tackle recurring, unknown fevers)

Adverse effects

The use of antipyretics to reduce fever is still controversial. Since all the available anitipyretics are pretty effective in managing fever, safety should be the main criteria while taking them. Common side-effects of frequent use of antipyretics include nausea, vomiting, stomach ache, breathing difficulties and headache. (Read: Painkillers or analgesics: Side-effects and precautions)

Most adverse effects due to antipyretics are a result of overdose (due to ignorance and negligence). Most of them have been cited in western literature and therefore may differ from Indian population. Overdose of paracetamol use has shown to cause liver toxicity and may also have an effect on circadian rhythm in healthy individuals. Ibuprofen is may lead to digestive disorders and, rarely, gastrointestinal bleeding. Kidney insufficiency and gastritis are also known adverse effects of antipyretics. (Read: Ibuprofen — why you shouldn’t pop these pills indiscriminately)

To summarize, antipyretics should not be used to bring down fever completely. The use of antipyretics should be limited just for symptomatic relief and to ensure that it is not raised to a dangerous level. Most of the times people also use antipyretics when there is minimal fever or to prevent fever from recurring. However, there is no evidence suggesting that antipyretics prevent fever from recurring. Also, half of times the dosage taken is incorrect. With this the chances of toxicity and adverse effects increase. Therefore, it is better to check the labels before taking an antipyretic drug and think about the long term complications you might have to face.

source: newsr

Best ways to prevent and treat the common cold

Although the world of medicine has made incredible progress when it comes to tackling certain illnesses, scientists still have not been able to find the cure for the common cold. But there are ways to prevent colds as well as treat them. The question is, which are the most effective?

According to a review in the recent edition of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, hand washing and possibly taking zinc seem to be the best ways to avoid getting sick. Investigators reviewed 67 randomized controlled trials that showed hand washing as well as alcohol disinfectants are the best ways to ward off colds.

Zinc was found to work mostly in children, with two trials showing that little ones who took 10 to 12 milligrams of zinc sulfate every day had fewer colds and fewer absences from school because of colds. Authors of the study suggest that zinc could work for adults. Vitamin C, the “gold standard” of cold fighters, did not seem as effective.

When it came to treating colds, the review stated that acetaminophen, ibuprofen and perhaps a antihistamine/decongestant were the best ways to keep runny noses, sore throats, fevers and coughs under control.

Ibuprofen and acetaminophen, which are both pain relievers, helped with the aches and fever. Ibuprofen worked better in children who had higher temperatures.

Combining antihistamines with decongestants or pain medication was somewhat effective in older children but not in children under the age of 5 or in adults.

Congestion was more difficult to handle. Nasal spray with ipratropium, which is used to treat serious pulmonary disorders, was found to stop drippy noses but did nothing to cut down on the stuffiness both in the nose and the chest.

Even though there were no major surprises in the findings, doctors said the review does stress the need to wash your hands, something a lot of people don’t do enough of.

“This is a thorough meta- analysis,” said Dr. Assil Saleh, an internist with Foxhall Internists in Washington. “It reaffirmed that the fundamental common sense measure of hand washing is the most effective measure to reduce the transmission of respiratory infections caused by viruses or bacteria.”

A point was also made that colds are usually viruses, with only about 5% being caused by bacterial infection. Yet, many patients with colds are prescribed antibiotics, which don’t help.

“Treatment typically aims to relieve symptoms rather than eradicate the infection itself, “noted Saleh. “It’s important to emphasize that bacteria-killing antibiotics are often overused in treating what is almost always a viral illness.”

While doctors shouldn’t be prescribing antibiotics for colds, patients should their part and not insist on antibiotics. If they are used too often for things they can’t treat, they can stop working effectively against bacteria when you or your child really needs them. The CDC has been concerned about antibiotic resistance for years and considers it to be one of the world’s most critical public health threats.

According to the review, the common cold affects adults approximately two to three times a year and children under the age of 2 about six times a year. A strong cold can keep people in bed, knocking many of them out their routines for a week or longer. That’s why doctors say prevention is so important.

“Although self-limiting, the common cold is highly prevalent and may be debilitating, ” says review authors Drs Michael Allan, from the Department of Family Medicine, University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Canada, and Bruce Arroll with the Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Auckland in New Zealand. “It causes declines in function and productivity at work and may affect other activities such as driving.”

Source: CNN health


Fever-reducing meds encourage spread of flu

Taking over-the-counter medications for the aches, pains and fever caused by flu may make people feel somewhat better, but it also could make them more contagious — resulting in increased cases and more deaths among the population, a study suggests.

Researchers at McMaster University say medicines like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can ease some flu symptoms, including bringing down fever.

“People often take — or give their kids — fever-reducing drugs so they can go to work or school,” said David Earn, a professor of mathematics who led the study.

“They may think the risk of infecting others is lower because the fever is lower,” said Earn. “In fact, the opposite may be true: the ill people may give off more virus because fever has been reduced.”

That’s because fever has been shown in a number of studies to lower the amount of some viruses in the body. Suppressing that uptick in temperature — one way the immune system fights infection — appears to leave a person with a greater amount of virus to shed, making them more infectious to others.

“We’ve discovered that this increase has significant effects when we scale up to the level of the whole population,” said Earn, who specializes in mathematical projections of infectious disease transmission.

“I think it’s really something that people should consider,” he said Tuesday from Hamilton. “And all they need to do is remember that they could be more infectious if they take this medication and so should be cautious.”

Using complex mathematical modelling, Earn and his co-authors estimated that fever-reducing medicines could raise the number of flu cases by five per cent, a figure that would account for tens of thousands of cases and an estimated extra 1,000 deaths across North America each year.

In other words, an estimated 1,000 of the roughly 40,000 annual flu deaths might not have occurred, the study suggests.

But the researchers, whose report is published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, say that doesn’t mean people should stop taking medicines to get relief from flu symptoms.

“That’s not what we’re saying,” stressed Earn. “Our paper isn’t about whether or not you should take medication to reduce your fever. That’s something that ideally you should decide in consultation with a physician — for you, individually, whether it’s good or bad for your health.

“The point that we’re making is that if you take the medication, then there’s an effect on others that people don’t realize. And that’s that you could be more infectious than you were without taking the medication. So you need to be extra cautious about transmitting the infection to others.”

To come up with their estimate, the researchers used data that included experiments on ferrets — considered the best animal model for human influenza — showing increased virus shedding in the absence of fever-reducing drugs, called antipyretics.

They then used the mathematical model to compute how the increase in the amount of virus given off by a single person taking fever-reducing drugs would increase the overall number of cases in a typical year, or in a year when a new strain of influenza caused a pandemic, such as H1N1 did in 2009.

“This research is important because it will help us understand how better to curb the spread of influenza,” said Dr. David Price, chair of family medicine at McMaster.

“As always, Mother Nature knows best,” he said. “Fever is a defence mechanism to protect ourselves and others. Fever-reducing medication should only be taken to take the edge off the discomfort, not to allow people to go out into the community when they should still stay home.”

Dr. Allison McGeer, director of infection control at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital, agreed the study raises important questions that need to be answered.

“I don’t think you can take away from this, though, that antipyretics increase the spread of human influenza or that we can in any way quantitate that,” McGeer said.

“The data, for instance, on increased shedding is in ferrets. And ferrets are not humans. It might well be the same in humans … but it’s not something we know the answer to.”

The study’s conclusions also hinge on the idea that people who take fever-reducing medicines are more likely to interact with others, she said, but that research has not yet been done.

“We know substantially how to prevent seasonal flu — it’s called vaccination,” said McGeer.

“It’s clearly an important question, but I don’t think that should change what we’re telling people to do at the moment: vaccinate, hand-wash and stay home when you’re sick.”

Earn agreed that more research is needed to pin down the magnitude of the fever-reducing effect on flu spread, but he would not be surprised if it is even slightly higher.

He suggests that if parents give children a fever-reducing medicine for flu, they should be discouraged from visiting older people or those with underlying medical conditions, who are more prone to complications if they contract the infection.

“If they feel better, they might go and sit on Granny’s lap,” he said. “There’s no problem if you take the medication if you stay at home. You can’t infect them.”

Source: yahoo news

Paracetamol can slow brain development in kids

A new study has found that paracetamol can interfere with the brain development of children, and can even be dangerous for unborn kids.

Researchers at Uppsala University examined paracetamol, one of the most commonly used drugs for pain and fever in children, by giving small doses of it to ten-day-old mice. They later carried out tests on the behavioural habits of the mice in adulthood.

They found that the mice could be hyperactive in adulthood, could display behavioural disturbances, and could have lower memory capability compared to the mice that weren’t given the dose.

Researchers said that the exposure to and presence of paracetamol during a critical period of brain development can induce long-lasting effects on cognitive function and alter the adult response to paracetamol in mice.

They added that parents should be careful in administering the drug.

Researcher Henrik Viberg told the Upsala Nya Tidning newspaper that this shows that there are reasons to restrict the use of paracetamol at the end of pregnancy and to hold back from giving the medicine to infants.

The study was published in the online Toxicological Sciences journal.

Source: Zee news

Temporary Fever May Occur When Kids Under 2 Get 2 Shots at Once

Young children who receive flu and pneumococcal vaccines at the same time are at increased risk for temporary fever, a new study reports.

While parents should be told about this risk, the benefits of the vaccines outweigh the risks of fever, the researchers said.

The study included 530 children, aged 6 months to 23 months, who were followed for a week after receiving flu and pneumococcal vaccines either separately or at the same time. The annual flu shot is recommended for healthy people over 6 months of age, and the pneumococcal vaccine is recommended for children younger than 5 years old, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nearly 38 percent of the children who received the vaccines at the same time had a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher on the day of or the day after vaccination, compared with 9.5 percent of those who received the pneumococcal vaccine only and 7.5 percent of those who received the flu vaccine only, the investigators found.

For every 100 children, there were an additional 20 to 23 cases of temperatures of 100.4 F or higher in those who received the vaccines together, compared to those who received only one of the vaccines, the findings showed. There were also 15 additional cases per 100 of temperatures of 102.2 F or higher among children who were given the vaccines at the same time, compared to those who received the flu vaccine alone, but not compared to those who received the pneumococcal vaccine alone.

Rates of fever among the different groups of children did not differ in the two to seven days after vaccination, according to the study published online Jan. 6 in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

“While our data suggest that giving children the influenza and pneumococcal vaccines together at the same visit increases the risk of fever, compared with getting only one of the vaccines at the visit, these findings should be viewed in context of the benefit of vaccines to prevent serious illness in young children, as well as the recognized need to increase vaccination rates overall,” study first author Dr. Melissa Stockwell, an assistant professor of pediatrics and population and family health at Columbia University, said in a university news release.

“Parents should be made aware that their child might develop a fever following simultaneous influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations, but that the benefits of these vaccines outweigh the risk of fever and, in most cases, the fever will be brief,” Stockwell said.

“For the small group of children who must avoid fever, these findings provide important information for clinicians and parents,” she added in the news release.

Study co-author Dr. Philip LaRussa, a professor of pediatrics at Columbia and specialist in pediatric infectious diseases at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia, pointed out that “these findings are a first step; the next step is to figure out if there are any measurable biological markers, such as findings in a blood sample, that are associated with increased risk of fever after vaccination.”

Source: web md