Health Care Specifics of a Young Child
15 Jul 2022
Children require a specific treatment approach, which is determined by their anatomical features, their immune system, and other characteristics. Their innate immunity stops working by the sixth month after birth. From that point onwards, the baby’s immune system starts producing antibodies in amounts that are sufficient to protect against various infectious agents. It is considered normal for young children who attend childcare facilities such as nurseries and kindergartens to suffer from acute respiratory infections between 6 and 8 times a year. These infections account for between 80-90% of all illnesses at this age. This was pointed out by Dr. Tanya Andreeva, pediatrician, and pediatric rheumatologist, during the Medrec:M event on the occasion of International Children’s Day.
Dr. Andreeva has over 15 years of experience in the field of pediatrics and is the recipient of the “Golden Apple” award from the National Children’s Network for her contribution to the life of the new generation. Also, Dr. Andreeva is part of the Medical Board of Sirma Medical Systems and actively participates in the development of the digital health app - Medrec:M.
Why are diseases affecting young children differently?
During the event, Dr. Andreeva explained in detail which conditions are urgent cases for children and what to do for each of them – burns, choking, wounds and trauma, febrile seizure, severe allergic reaction, vomiting, and diarrhea.
An illness in young children usually evolves dynamically. If in an adult’s body the disease process takes several days, in children – this happens in a matter of hours. For example, in case of high temperature (one of the most common conditions in young children), Dr. Andreeva advises parents to measure it every 15 minutes, as it rises very quickly in children. She listed which antipyretic medications are recommended for different temperature ranges and how often to take them.
The pediatrician also recommended several techniques to drop off the temperature. The first one is bathing the child in water with a temperature that should be 1 degree lower than the child’s temperature. If you use ice cold water you risk the development of hypothermia. Another option is to put moistened towels on the inguinal folds of the child – armpits, and groin because the main blood vessels are there. By cooling them, you will cool the whole body. Dr. Andreeva advises regularly ventilating the room where the child with a high temperature is and also providing plenty of fluids.
The Cases of Emergency
One of the most frightening conditions for parents is a febrile seizure. It usually appears precisely because of the inability of young children to control their temperature very well. Dr. Andreeva advised parents to keep calm, because only then can they help their children. When the seizure occurs, the child should be placed in a safe place so that it cannot roll and fall. After that, it should be turned on its left side and the head should be slightly raised so that there is no chance of the root of the tongue blocking the breathing hole. Dr. Andreeva advised the parents to videotape the seizure because only then would the medical team be able to analyze the seizure later and see if it was a simple febrile seizure, expressed in symmetrical twitches of the whole body, or a complicated, or epileptic seizure, which is asymmetrical and lasting more than 1-2 minutes.
Another important topic covered by the MD was choking. It turns out that the most dangerous thing for small children up to 3 years of age is nuts. They are the most common cause of choking, due to their small size. Dr. Andreeva advised keeping our children away from playing with small objects that they may try to swallow and choke on. An example is the popular Montessori fine motor development game with beans.
Practical tips for parents
In non-urgent situations, it is a good idea to wait 12 to 24 hours after the first symptoms until you visit the doctor so that the symptoms unfold in the meantime. There is a higher chance that the disease will be diagnosed. A consultation with a pediatrician that is too early may not reveal the cause of the disease.
Parents need to keep themselves calm during these situations. It is important to do so to have the right responses to a child’s health problem. Parents can rely on the Medrec:M app for tracking symptoms, storing outpatient records, examinations, vaccinations, as well as for online consultations with a doctor.
Download the Medrec:M app now and improve the health care of both your child and the whole family!