Healthcare And Social Care

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Acne

Acne is common in newborn children. Spots can appear between 2 weeks and 2 months of age, and last until your child is between 4 and 6 months old. It usually presents as small whiteheads on the face and occasionally on the back. These spots are different from the little bumps called milia that your baby may have had on their face at birth and which usually disappear after three to four weeks. Acne is caused by the hormones that your baby gets from the mother in the womb and through her breast milk. It is best to leave the spots alone as they should clear by themselves. However, if you are in any doubt as to whether it is acne, or if the rash is elsewhere on your baby’s body see your child’s doctor as it could be eczema or cradle cap.

Anaphylactic Shock

Anaphylactic shock is a rare, but life threatening, severe allergic reaction. It can occur after an insect sting, after a particular food (such as peanuts) has been eaten, or after a drug has been taken. The allergic reaction causes histamine and other chemicals to be released which cause the blood vessels to dilate causing a sudden drop in blood pressure. Your child will quickly become wheezy and have difficulty in breathing, their tongue and throat will swell and they may get an itchy, raised rash. If your child has such a reaction you should call 999 as it is a medical emergency and requires an injection of adrenaline as soon as possible. A useful contact is the ‘The Anaphylaxis Campaign’ (01252-542029). Their web site is www.anaphylaxis.org.uk. It provides a lot of information about allergies and anaphylactic shock along with alerts on foods that have been found to contain known allergy causing substances.

Appendicitis

Appendicitis occurs when the appendix, which is a small protrusion of the large intestine, becomes inflamed. If it is not treated the inflamed appendix can burst, causing peritonitis (which is inflammation of the lining of the abdomen) or an abscess. Your child possibly has appendicitis if they have a pain in the lower right-hand corner of their abdomen, a slight fever, appetite loss and vomiting. If you suspect your child has appendicitis you must contact your child’s doctor urgently or else go to the accident and emergency department at your nearest hospital. Your child may need an operation as soon as possible to have the appendix removed before it bursts.

Asthma

Asthma is a condition which narrows the small airways in the lungs and makes breathing more difficult. During an attack a person’s airways tend to become inflamed and fill with mucus. Asthma is caused by an over reaction of the body’s normal immunity against certain ‘foreign’ agents.

Asthma In Children Can Show Itself In Different Ways:-

  • By wheezing
  • A persistent cough
  • Coughing and wheezing each time the child gets a cold.
  • Getting more out of breath than they should when doing sport/running around

Some children get these problems occasionally whereas others have to contend with these symptoms regularly. Asthma attacks can be life threatening.

There Are Many Things That Can Provoke An Asthma Attack Although For Many Children There Is No Obvious Reason For Their Attacks. Possible Causes Of Asthma Attacks Are :-

  • Allergy – allergies, amongst other things, to pollen, house mites (found in house dust) and furry animals can trigger asthma. Food allergies may also act as a trigger to an asthma attack.
  • Infection – viral respiratory infections, such as colds and coughs are particularly common triggers for asthma in young children.
  • Exercise – running in particular can provoke asthma.
  • Emotion – great excitement, upset, anxiety or tension can trigger an asthma attack.
  • Weather – sudden changes in climate, such as sudden wind are able to provoke asthma.
  • Smoke – cigarette smoke can trigger wheezing as can some industrial fumes, paint fumes and perfumes.

There are many different treatments for asthma and your child’s doctor will suggest one which best suits your child.

Avoiding Factors That Trigger An Asthma Attack:- This is about trying to avoid things that are known to trigger asthma – for example avoiding smoky atmospheres and reducing dust in the house for a child who is sensitive to house mites.

Inhalers That Prevent An Asthma Attack:- These can be given regularly or only when there is a problem. Your child’s doctor may suggest starting treatment when your child gets a cold to prevent an attack and similarly he may suggest taking an inhaler before exercise, if exercise causes wheeziness. The purpose of the inhaler is to stop the reaction that triggers an attack, by getting the drugs to the lungs in the quickest way. Young children may find it difficult to use an inhaler and if this is the case a ’spacer’ can be used. A spacer is a large transparent ball where the medicine is sprayed in at one end and the child breathes in and out through the other.

To Treat An Asthma Attack:- Bronchodilators treat wheezing by opening the airways and offering instant relief. In severe asthma attacks your child may have to be admitted to hospital. Many children grow out of asthma as they get older – only one in five will still have persistent symptoms in early adult life. The National Asthma Campaign is the independent UK charity that offers support and advice for parents through its publications, its network of local branches and the Asthma Helpline which is staffed by asthma specialist nurses.

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