We protect our children with utmost care yet despite our best efforts sometimes our children may fall victim to infectious diseases. Thus parents should be knowledgeable on how to care for their children in such situations. This article hopes to draw attention to a few common communicable diseases in childhood.
Mumps is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus. The incubation period is around 14 – 18 days and it lasts for about 10 days.
Most often this disease would get better without any major complications yet rarely may lead to meningitis, encephalitis or even deafness. Yet the MMR vaccine which is included in the national Extended Programme for Immunization (EPI) schedule decreases the risk of getting this disease by 80%.
Early symptoms of mumps
In some children the only symptoms might be fever and a mild pain which subsides gradually.
When severe there will be high fever and swelling of both cheeks with severe headache
In some children both cheeks don’t swell at the same time. They may only experience swelling on one side or the other side may swell once the initial swelling on the first side subsides.
Even a few days before the symptoms of mumps appear, even before the onset of fever a person is infectious and releases the virus to the environment and continues to do so even after the appearance of symptoms.
Important – There is a vaccine against Mumps which can be taken as a single injection or as a combination of Measeles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR).
Chicken pox is an infection seen in the young and the old though it is common in the under 12 age group. Though caused by a virus traditional beliefs categorize it as an illness caused by divine interference. Chicken pox doesn’t need special treatment and has the ability to heal on its own yet the varicella vaccine greatly reduces the risk of contracting the disease.
Important – Medication is not compulsory in chicken pox but if required preparations are available in the market..
Measles is an infectious disease also caused by a virus only seen in humans. This virus proliferates in the back of the throat and the cells lining the lungs. This virus has the ability to spread very fast and a healthy person is infected by droplets from a sick individual. Close contact with a sick person is a risk for infection.
The immunity within the body is reduced when infected with measles. This makes the child more prone to secondary infections like ear infections, diarrhoea and pneumonia.
Pink eye is a commonly seen from time to time. Despite mild differences the symptoms are usually unchanged. Cleanliness and maintaining personal hygiene is paramount in preventing the spread of the infection to other people.
An article submitted by the Waidyawaraya Magazine