Oral thrush is a term used to describe a fungal infection in the mouth caused by the yeast fungus Candida albicans. This fungus is actually present in everyone’s mouth and it doesn’t normally cause problems but if it gets the better of your immune system it can overgrow and cause symptomatic infection. Babies are more at risk of this than adults because their immune systems are not as strong or developed and are therefore more susceptible to infection. Another cause of oral thrush is antibiotic use by either your baby or yourself (if you are breastfeeding). Continue reading
Slapped cheek is a viral illness which is also known as fifth disease or erythema infectiosum and is caused by a virus known as parvovirus B19. It has many of the same sort of symptoms of the flu as other viral illnesses which I’ll describe more here but also a characteristic rash on the cheeks which leaves them looking as if they have been slapped, and also a faint recurring red rash on the body is possible. Continue reading
Chicken Pox is an infection which is caused by the Varicella Zoster virus. It is responsible for a horrible rash which normally starts as small red spots which then turn into fluid filled blisters after about 12-14 hours. These blisters can be extremely itchy and your child may be very out of sorts when they start to appear (i have horrible memories of trying to comfort them whilst they wriggled with pain in their sleep at night!). The blisters remain like this for a day or two before becoming cloudy and drying up. They most commonly appear on the chest, back, and face but also affect the arms and legs. Unfortunately they can also appear inside the ears, mouth and on the nappy area. It’s really important to do all that you can to ensure your child is comfortable during this time. It’s also important to minimise the itching and scratching of the blisters to prevent them from becoming infected and scarring.
To read all about the treatments available, without prescription, for chicken pox read my product review here – https://wonderbaba.ie/2015/01/01/verdict-on-chicken-pox-products/
The chicken pox are highly contagious for a couple of days before the blisters first appear and until they have all completely scabbed over – so the blisters are contagious, not the scabs.. The virus can also be passed by coughing and sneezing etc.
Generally the patient feels worst for the couple of days before the blisters appear and until they scab over. At this point it’s really just healing wounds and the illness itself has passed. You may find that some spots are drying out and others are just arriving. This is because chicken pox tend to come in clusters for 3-5 days so the spots can be at different stages of blistering or healing.
Symptoms other than the distinctive rash can be similar to the flu and may include:
- Feeling sick or nauseous.
- A high temperature (read my guide on how to treat them by clicking here!)
- Aches and pains.
- Loss of appetite.
Your child will need to stay off school until they are feeling better and all of their spots have scabbed over. Whilst they are contagious I would also urge you to keep them at home as much as you can so as not to put immunocompromised or pregnant people at risk of catching the virus as it can be more dangerous for them. It is also advisable to keep infected children away from new born babies as much as possible.
If your child has the chicken pox you should contact the doctor by phone to arrange a suitable appointment (let them know your child has chicken pox in advance so that they can ensure you are not coming into contact with vulnerable patients in the waiting room) if you suspect your child’s blisters have become infected. You should also contact your GP:
- If you suspect your newborn baby has the chickenpox
- If you are pregnant and have come into contact with someone who is infected and you have never had them previously.
- If you have a weakened immune system.
Seek emergency help if:
- You suspect your child is dehydrated – read my dehydration blog here!
- If your child has pain in their chest or difficulty breathing.
I hope you find this helpful and if you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to contact me by sending a private message to the WonderBaba facebook page (www.facebook.com/wonderbabacare) or by calling me (Sheena) at Milltown totalhealth Pharmacy in Dublin 6 on 012600262. I’m always happy to help!
Measles is a contagious viral illness which is most common among children age one to four years of age. The MMR vaccine is the most effective way to protect your child against measles and due to its success Ireland has a very low level of measles cases. However in recent years controversy surrounding the vaccine which included an association with autism has resulted in some parents choosing not to vaccinate their children. The World Health Organisation state that ‘no evidence exists of a causal association between MMR vaccine and autism or autistic disorders’. In addition the HSE website shows a quote from Autism Speaks (2015), the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organisation has stated, “Over the last two decades, extensive research has asked whether there is any link between childhood vaccinations and autism. The results of this research are clear: Vaccines do not cause autism. We urge that all children be fully vaccinated”
The inaccurate link between autism and the MMR first came about in the late 1990’s and the children who were not vaccinated then would now be approximately 18 years of age….it seems no surprise to me that the current outbreak of measles in Ireland is affecting the 15-19 year age group mostly. The majority of the recent cases of measles were in patients who had not been vaccinated with the MMR.
The MMR vaccine should be given when your child is 12 months of age as a part of the childhood vaccination schedule and then a second dose is given when they are 4-5 years of age. To read my blog all about the childhood vaccination schedule just click here!
Once you have had the vaccine or the virus it is very rare for you to get the infection as your body will then be immune and resistant to the virus.
What are the symptoms of the Measles?
- Cold like symptoms including runny nose, sneezing, dry cough and sore eyes.
- A mild to severe temperature which may last for several days.
- Small white/grey spots in the mouth and throat.
- Lack of energy and fatigue.
- Lack of appetite.
- A red-brown spotty rash which appears two to four days after the initial symptoms occur. The rash can last for up to eight days and usually starts at the top of the head and works its way down the body.
It can be hard to differentiate measles rash from some other childhood rashes but the measles rash often starts as small spots which quickly get bigger and then join together. Measles is not just defined by its rash but also by the symptoms that accompany it so if your child has a rash which sounds like this you should phone your GP to discuss it and arrange to visit at a time that other vulnerable patients will not be in the waiting room.
How is the measles virus spread?
The measles virus is spread by coughing and sneezing as it is present in the tiny water particles which are expelled by an infected person. If an infected person coughs or sneezes in close proximity to you, or you touch something which they have coughed or sneezed on, you may ingest the virus and thus become infected. The measles virus can survive on surfaces for a couple of hours. Symptoms of the measles start to appear about ten days after you have caught the infection. You are contagious and can spread the virus from two to four days before the rash appears to about five days after.
How do I treat the measles?
The treatment of the measles simply involves the treatment of the symptoms. The virus itself is self-limiting and will normally clear by itself within a couple of weeks. To read my blog on managing a high temperature click here!
- Paracetamol (calpol) or ibuprofen (nurofen) can be given in the case of a high temperature, aches or pains.
- Soothe irritated eyes by cleansing with gauze dipped in boiled cooled water. Use one piece of gauze as a single wipe from the inside of the eye outwards and then dispose of it.
- To learn more about the treatment of coughs and what cough bottle can be used click here!
- Ensure your child stays hydrated. Tips on how to spot dehydration and how to prevent it can be found by clicking here!
When to contact the doctor?
- If measles is suspected phone your GP.
- If you cannot alleviate the symptoms of measles using over the counter remedies.
- If complications occur such as croup, bronchitis, a squint of the eye, ear ache, febrile convulsions, symptoms of meningitis, drowsiness, severe headache and vomiting.
I hope you have found this article helpful and if you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to contact me by sending a private message to the WonderBaba facebook page (www.facebook.com/wonderbabacare) or by calling me (Sheena) at Milltown totalhealth Pharmacy in Dublin 6 on 012600262. I’m always happy to help
Ringworm is also known as tinea corporis. Surprisingly it has absolutely nothing to do with worms at all, despite its name. It is a common fungal infection which often affects children but can affect adults too and it is thought that 10-20% of people will suffer from ringworm at some stage in their lives! It is a highly contagious infection which can be passed from human to human and even from dog or cat to human. It usually affects the arms or legs but can occur almost anywhere.
What does it look like?
- Affects arms and legs most frequently
- Round, red or silvery patches of skin which can be scaly
- The skin can be itchy and inflamed.
How do I prevent it? Continue reading
Scarlet Fever is a rare bacterial illness which causes a red-pink rash with the feel of sand paper. It can start in one area but spread to many. It often causes a flushed looking red face which gives rise to the name scarlet fever and is also referred to sometimes in mild forms as scarlatina. It is caused by haemolytic streptococci which is a member of the streptococcus group of bacteria. It most commonly affects children between the ages of four and eight and often affects people who have been in contact with someone with a streptococcal throat or skin infection. Children under two have some immunity from their mothers and children over ten will have developed immunity themselves to the toxins from streptoccal bacteria. Continue reading
Meningitis describes an infection of the meninges. The meninges are the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. The infection can be viral or bacterial.
Viral infections, whilst very scary, are usually not life threatening. Hospital tests are often required to differentiate between bacterial and viral menigitis and it’s extremely important to seek medical attention if meningitis is suspected as urgent antibiotic treatment is needed for the bacterial form of the disease. Examples of viruses which can cause meningitis are enteroviruses and the herpes simplex virus. Continue reading
Every now and again I am humbled by the strength and power of parents that I come across. I was lucky enough to have been introduced to the website http://www.actformeningitis.ie which was set up by Siobhán and Noel Carroll, who in 2008 sadly lost their precious daughter Aoibhe, aged 4, to meningitis. It is a non-profit organisation which aims to provide support to families who have been affected by meningitis but also to educate and inform other parents about the illness, its symptoms, and causes. Continue reading
The bronchioles are small little airways in your baby’s lungs. The lungs are vital in delivering the right amount of oxygen to your baby’s blood steam allowing healthy bodily function to continue. Bronchiolitis occurs when infection affects the bronchioles. The most common cause of this infection in the respiratory synctial virus (RSV). This viral infection causes inflammation and irritation of the bronchioles which can make it difficult for your little baby to breathe. Continue reading
There are far too many blogs on WonderBaba which start with the sentence…this is disgusting but…
Well here is another one anyway!
This is disgusting but… threadworms are small, white, parasitic worms which are otherwise known as pinworms or Enterobium vermicularis. They are the most common worm parasite which affects children. In fact it is thought that up to 40% of all children under ten years of age may be infected with threadworms. Males (2-5mm) are smaller than females (8-13mm long). They resemble a thread or a pin which is where they get their name – in fact it’s been said that the female threadworms are about the size of a staple but I guess that’s not as catchy! Continue reading