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DISEASES AND NUTRITION CONDITIONS IN CHILDREN

Updated on February 3, 2013

The effects of Tuberculosis in minors

INTRODUCTION

The health status of children has a direct effect on how they grow their general development and their resistance to disease. Children under six months; where the mother is producing adequate milk tend to have a normal growth chart. Most nutritional conditions affect children after the age of six months. Nutritional ailments also occur mostly among low income populations. Please find here below some examples of common nutrition related conditions and diseases affecting children.

CHOKING

A chunk of food gets stuck in the child’s airways, hindering normal breathing and causing choking. This is usually so, because many young children do not have premolars and molars; most food is swallowed without chewing. Children too are not aware of most things in their environment, like the right size of food to swallow. Young children will try to swallow even non food items in the living room. It is important for parents and caregivers to ensure that children eat food in a sitting position, children do not eat while annoyed, food given to them is breakable or break the hard food into smaller portions, because any of the reverse conditions may result into life threatening choking. It is also good for parents to avoid giving children maize, nuts and popcorn before they develop premolar and molar teeth. Younger children should not be left unattended to ensure that they do not swallow polythene and other dangerous non food items.

GASTRO ENTERITIS

This condition is caused by bacteria and viruses in the alimentary canal. Its main cause is food poisoning. Its symptoms are fever, stomach-aches and diarrhoea. It may be accompanied by mucus and blood or either in the child’s bowel motion. It results into discomfort and dehydration, because a lot of fluid is lost through the diarrhoea and vomiting. Parents and caregivers should seek medical attention for their minors when it happens and replace lost fluid with water, oral rehydration and other diluted juices.

FOOD ALLERGY OR POOR TOLERANCE TO FOOD

An allergic reaction is the effect of the body immune system rejection of an otherwise harmless substance by producing antibodies against it. Allergic reactions are common in children due to their immature alimentary channel. Common allergic reactions are to products like milk, soya, fish, eggs and nuts.Allergies may result into rashes, a burning sensation, facial redness and swelling around the mouth and difficulty in breathing. Allergic shock may also occur, it is life threatening. Most allergies disappear as children grow up. Some babies too react to food naturally occurring chemicals. They are intolerant to these conditions and therefore portray symptoms similar to those of allergic reactions or worse. Parents and caregivers should note the food producing allergic reactions in children and stop giving it to the children.


OBESITY

There is a general increasing rate of obesity in the world. This is increasing so due to changing social and environmental factors. Most cases though are genetic. Overweight children are at the risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, to have strained joints and bones and to generally have a low opinion of themselves, when they are together with their peers. Overweight children have a high chance of growing into overweight adults. It is advisable for parents to breastfeed their children well, allow children to eat all food without over emphasising others, give children whole meal cereal and bread, reduce processed and sweetened food and discourage unconscious eating for instance eating in front of the television.

MINERAL DEFICIENCY

These conditions expose a child to other opportunistic ailments. Lack of adequate iron causes anaemia. Anaemic children lack appetite, have pale skin, feel extremely tired and extreme cases may be life threatening. An anaemic child has impaired learning ability and is very susceptible to lead poisoning. Lack of Vitamin D may result in a condition called rickets; the child has fragile bones, a soft skull bone, swollen joints and rib area, bow legs and a generally delayed dentition.

CONSTIPATION

It is a digestive disorder. The child has delayed and usually hard motion of stool. The child may become fearful of motion of stool pain and resort to holding back the stool. Parents need to administer more fluid to the child, provide health food rich in fibre and encourage the child to do motion after meals.

INTERSTINAL PARASITISM

These are parasites which invade the intestinal tract. They can be cured by de-worming.Common types are the tapeworm, hook worm, wire worm and round worm

They invade the digestive tract impede themselves in the intestinal wall, use up digested food before absorption and lay eggs, passed out o the body to continue their life cycles. They cause malnutrition, abdominal discomfort and may cause abdominal bleeding and ulcers

An illustration of a child weakened by disease.

Source

PRIMARY TUBERCULOSIS (TB)

According to the world health organisation Tuberculosis (TB) kills over 100,000 children annually. The figure could be worse with all the unreported cases in developing countries.TB in children has been neglected in developing countries, because the cases of child infection are lower than adult infection. This is also because its impact is not directly felt because child carriers are not infectious. The BCG vaccine administered to children after birth does not completely eliminate TB.The condition of children suffering from tuberculosis is further worsened by conditions like H.I.V and parasitic infestations externally and internally. It is also easy for children to contract TB because adults hold them close and breathe directly over them; these conditions are worsened in crowded housing. Resistance of children under five years to TB is poor.TB is taking high death toll among children too because it is difficult to detect in children, because most of the symptoms usually present in adults don’t manifest in children. For children who survive it they may carry into adulthood; blindness, deafness or it leaves them with permanent disabilities or bone deformities. Children should be given regular medical checkups so that such conditions are detected early and contained.

MALARIA

This is a mosquito borne disease. It is life threatening. It is spread by the female anopheles mosquito. It occurs mostly in Africa and other parts of India, Malaysia and some areas in the Middle East. It is severe in children after the second month of life. I t causes fever, cold, irritability, vomiting, stomach-aches, poor appetite and sleeplessness. A child should be given medical attention and thereafter, adequate rest, healthy food and constant sponging on the forehead to lower fever.

FILTH AND OVERCROWING DISEASES

These diseases occur mainly in low income populations. They include jigger attacks, diarrhoea, chest infections, scabies and colds. Jiggers are flea parasites that get into human flesh, grow ,lay eggs, cause itchiness, poor appetite , poor concentration and general ill health among children. Chest infections may occur due to high levels of congestion, smoke and general pollution, this condition may be life threatening because the children lungs are not yet fully developed. Scabies is a skin infection that causes blisters and scaring on children, they are itchy, produce pus and causes general discomfort and extreme restlessness among children. Scabies occur mostly in children leaving in dirty environments, especially where there is poor or lack of personal hygiene among the people living with the children. Filthy and overcrowded areas may be infested with parasites like lice fleas and ticks. All of which are blood sucking. Hygiene is to be maintained if adults and children are to be free of these conditions.

CHILDHOOD CONDITIONS

This is conditions that occur in children even after immunisation. Among them are diphtheria, chickenpox and measles. These conditions may not portray many life threatening symptoms in immunised children though medical help should be sought immediately. Chickenpox for one causes red itchy sports and blisters over the whole body. The child may have fever, prolonged fits of coughing and wheezy breathing. An antibiotic administered by medical practitioners clears it. Most of these childhood conditions are very life threatening in unimmunised children it is good for parents to ensure that all children are immunised against these life threatening conditions.

A child suffering from Chickenpox

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