Looking after children

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All parents will understand just how worrying children’s health and safety can be.  Those early years at school can bring your children to meet many new challenges, and viral diseases are high on the list.

We have noticed an increase in pediatric cases over the past couple of months, with Hand, Foot and Mouth and Dengue fever being very prevalent this year.  And while Hand, Foot and Mouth makes the children feel unwell, Dengue fever, on the other hand, can kill.

The Thai health authorities are now predicting more than 100 deaths from the Dengue virus this year, and by June the number had already reached 50.  And the majority of the deaths are in children, though all ages can be affected.

The carrier is the Aedes aegypti mosquito which is alive and well, bringing with it the dangerous Dengue Fever virus.  For some reason or other, the public has not taken the notion on board that Dengue can kill.  Reading the journals I see that more people have died of Dengue fever this year than the bird flu numbers which were about 17 for this country.  Can you now see just how dangerous this virus really is?

Actually, Dengue has become endemic throughout the world.  There are 2.5 billion people living in Dengue endemic areas, and Thailand is but one of them.

With the monsoon rains we have been having recently, this is one of the reasons that this disease is on the upsurge in this country – but there is something we can all do about it.

However, first you should understand a little more about Dengue.  The mosquito Aedes aegypti lays its eggs in standing water (and there is plenty left each evening after the afternoon showers), preferring the clean water found in water tanks and pots, in the saucers under pot plants and even under the pet’s food dish.  Inside discarded car tyres are another favorite spot.  These mosquitoes are not of the adventurous type and feed during the day and spend their time within 200 meters of their hatchery.  Consequently, the eradication of any local breeding areas becomes very important towards maintaining your own health, as you can see.  Keep your home free from lying water for a radius of 200 meters and you’re looking good!

Simple Dengue (if you can call it that) has an incubation period of around 4 to 7 days and then the full blown symptoms of high fever and headache begin.  The headache is usually behind the eyes and is made worse by eye movement.  From there the pains progress to the limbs with acute muscle pains, which gave it the old name “Break Bone Fever”.

With our ability to treat the viral ailments being very limited, the defense against the Dengue virus lies in Health and Hygiene initiatives, to stop you getting mosquitoes in the house during the day.  For example, do you regularly change the water in containers the Aedes aegypti mosquito might call home?  Do you have mosquito screens?  Does baby sleep under a mosquito net?  If the answer to these questions is “no”, then perhaps it is time to look critically at your own Dengue prevention plan.  Let me assure you, it is not a disease you want!  And the Hemorrhagic form in particular can be lethal.

The other precautions are to wear long trousers and long sleeved shirts, especially at sun up and sun down, when the mosquito is at its most ravenous.

The other factor to remember is “D” for Dengue and “D” for DEET.  DEET is the magic ingredient in mosquito repellents, so when you go to buy some repellent, check the label – if it has DEET, then get it.  And then remember to use it!

Now after that gloomy medical news, there are some bright spots too.  Bangkok Hospital Pattaya is offering some 20 percent discounts during this low season.  These include Elective Surgery, Operation Room, Cath Lab and GI Endoscopy fees for both IPD and OPD cases.

For In patients, there is also a 20 percent discount on room rates in ICU, CCU, IMCU, NICU, and Wards in E Building.

These discount rates will remain current until 31st October, 2013.