Shaken Baby Syndrome

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Amniotic fluid problems

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Newborn reflexes

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Mastitis

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Colic

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Antenatal Classes

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  • Shaken Baby Syndrome

    Tuesday, 21 July 2015 16:28
  • Amniotic fluid problems

    Thursday, 14 May 2015 12:54
  • Choosing a pre-school

    Friday, 10 April 2015 17:50
  • Newborn reflexes

    Tuesday, 03 March 2015 15:49
  • Mastitis

    Tuesday, 03 March 2015 15:41
  • Pelvic floor exercises

    Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:20
  • Colic

    Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:11
  • Antenatal Classes

    Monday, 03 June 2013 09:34
  • Strap-in-the-Future

    Thursday, 30 June 2011 13:52

Hepatitis

Infectious hepatitis is a highly contagious disease that attacks the liver, and is most commonly caused by viruses. Children are generally affected by the virus that causes hepatitis A. However, hepatitis may be caused by several other viruses, most notably the blood-borne hepatitis B virus. This virus causes some cases of hepatitis among newborn babies if their mothers are carriers (Collins, 2003; Leary, 1990; NY Department of Health, 2009).

 

The hepatitis A virus has an incubation period of between 15-50 days. Your child is considered to be contagious approximately 2 weeks before symptoms appear and 1 week thereafter. Once a person has recovered from hepatitis, he has lifetime immunity and does not continue to carry the virus (NY Department of Health, 2009).

 

Causes

·                The hepatitis A virus is spread from one person to another by putting something in the mouth, that has been contaminated by the faeces of the infected person. This form of transmission is known as the ‘faecal-oral’ route. It is more likely to occur in areas where there is poor sanitation or if good personal hygiene is lacking.

·                The virus may also be spread by consuming food or drink that has been contaminated by the infected person.

·                Casual contact in schools does not spread the virus.

·                The hepatitis vaccine is recommended if you and your family are planning to visit a country where the disease is highly prevalent (Collins, 2003; NY Department of Health, 2009).

 

Symptoms

In infants and young children, most hepatitis infections are mild, they are less likely to develop jaundice, and the virus may not produce any symptoms at all. Older children are usually symptomatic but the disease is seldom severe. Symptoms may include:

·                An abrupt onset of flu-like symptoms, including fever, headache and weakness.

·                Nausea and recurrent vomiting may be a feature.

·                Loss of appetite.

·                Upper right abdominal pain, where the liver is situated.

·                After a week, your child may develop jaundice. This is evident in the yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes. Jaundice is often accompanied by dark-coloured urine, pale faeces and sometimes diarrhoea. The onset of jaundice often brings about an improvement in your child’s general well-being and a return of appetite. Jaundice may last for up to 2 weeks.

·                Thereafter recovery is usually rapid but your child may experience a lack of energy and easy tiredness for several weeks (Collins, 2003; Leary, 1990; NY Department of Health).

 

Treatment

Consult your doctor within 24 hours if your child presents with the symptoms of hepatitis. Although there is no special medication that can be used to treat a person with hepatitis, your doctor will advise you on how to care for your child at home.

·                Allow your child to stay in bed, until he indicates the desire to get up and resume play activities.

·                During the acute phase ensure your child is drinking plenty of fluids.

·                If he is vomiting, give him small amounts of rehydrating fluids hourly.

·                Offer your child banana, scrambled egg, toast and biscuits, until his appetite returns. As the jaundice starts decreasing, your child’s appetite should improve and he can start eating normally.

·                The return to full activity should be gradual and your child should feel well enough to return to school from 2-6 weeks after the onset of symptoms (Collins, 2003; Leary, 1990).

 

Prevention

·                The most important means of preventing hepatitis from spreading, person-to-person, is to ensure the adequate washing of hands after using the bathroom, after changing nappies, and before preparing or eating food.

·                Your doctor may recommend that all family members who do not have immunity to the hepatitis A virus receive the immune globulin or hepatitis A vaccine within 2 weeks of exposure to the infected person, to prevent the spreading of the disease (Collins, 2003; NY Department of Health, 2009).

 

Contact your doctor immediately if:

·         There is continued vomiting.

·         Any alteration in alertness (Leary, 1990).