Google Search


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Something about vaccine preventable diseases

Those caring for children are often at their wits' end when it comes to knowing when to give which vaccine, what the side-effects of these vaccines are, what to do if one misses a vaccination appointment, and so on and so forth.

In this post, I am going to talk a little bit about vaccines, and expand the concept to include other important life-habits that work just like vaccination, but without the pain, when it comes to preventing disease.

When we talk about immunisation, we are talking about giving preventive vaccines to our loved ones to avoid the occurrence of diseases. The problem is that no vaccine is one hundred percent effective in preventing the occurrence of the disease it is supposed to prevent. However, many modern vaccines do come close enough to the ideal, in that, they are effective in more than 95% of those vaccinated. 

Vaccines are of several kinds, but the most useful  classification is to divide them into those that prevent life-threatening illnesses and those that prevent non-life-threatening diseases. The former category includes vaccines against major killers of the 20th Century and before such as poliomyelitis, measles, tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough and tuberculosis. To this may be added the small pox vaccine, which is no longer given now as the disease has become "extinct", and the hepatitis B vaccine, though the last one kills the affected persons in just about 1-2% of the cases. 

The latter category includes vaccines against different illnesses: these are Hepatitis A, Chicken Pox, the rotavirus, influenza viruses, and some others. 

Then there are vaccines against illnesses that are geographically limited but serious illnesses nevertheless; many such vaccines are in the list of vaccines that need to be given to travellers within that country. These include the vaccines against Japanese encephalitis, yellow fever etc.

Next in the category of vaccines are simple preventive medicines that help prevent diseases like malaria. If you are travelling to a malaria-infested country like India, Bangladesh, or any tropical country in Africa or Asia, you should seek advice on taking medicines starting one week before entering that country and should continue ingesting these until 4 weeks after you have left that country.

Good hand washing, eating hygienic food and basic personal cleanliness are also "vaccines" that help prevent water and food-borne illnesses; in the same way, covering one's nose and mouth while among huge crowds is a simple preventive step to avoid air-borne diseases to some extent. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Some advice on discipline

This is an excerpt from my book CHILD CARE: From Birth to Eighteen.

Here are some tips on how to discipline your children:

  1. If she misbehaves at the dinner table, declare a time-out for her, ask her politely to leave the table and sit against a wall or a corner with her back towards you. Deduct the time-out from the time allotted to her for the meal.
  2. If she breaks an object willfully, restrict her from approaching you for a specific time-period.
  3. If she shouts back at you or argues with you impolitely, tell her that she may not speak with you for a specific time-period and quarantine her from the living/sitting room area and ask her to study something and “give you her lessons” after a certain time.
  4. Privileges like watching a favourite TV program, eating a favourite snack, doing a favourite activity, going out on a Sunday evening, getting a hug when she returns from school, buying her a favourite dress, letting her go “down” in the compound to play, and many more can all be restricted depending upon the situation and upon the consensus between both the parents.
  5. Do not shout, make angry faces, physically beat or become violent while punishing. It encourages rebellion and aggressiveness in the child. Also, it does nothing to reduce the occurrence of the same mistake again. In fact, the child become “immune” to repeated corporeal punishment and a stage is reached where the parent gets “tired” of punishing and the child mocks him/her and challenges him/her to “do what you want”.
  6. As far as possible, explain why your child is being punished in easy-to-understand language and follow up with the information of what the child could have done/could do to avoid the occurrence/ prevent repetition of the mistake.
  7. Be role models yourself and behave in an exemplary way so that the child hesitates to do what she would otherwise have done.
  8. Be consistent in punishing and as far as possible, be both parents available while deciding on the quantum and nature of the punishment.
  9. Never issue empty threats like “Let your dad come and then we will see” if you do not intend to follow up on your threats. Else, the child will lose faith in you and start making fun of you.

Great Offer

Dr. Fuhrman

Dr. Fuhrman