Monday, December 22, 2014

Chandigarh has Bird flu cases, will taking the seasonal flu vaccine help?

Recently it has been reported that Chandigarh is having Avian Flu (Bird Flu H5N1) cases. 
I have received numerous calls and parents who have asked me whether they should take the Seasonal Influenza vaccine now, and whether it would prevent the Bird Flu disease?
Here is what I have found.
The short answer is NO, seasonal flu vaccine cannot directly prevent bird flu, since they are different strains of the same virus, against which the vaccine will not work.
However, the situation is a little bit more complicated than this
As per Wikipedia listing on prevention of bird flu
Notwithstanding possible mutation of the virus, the probability of a "humanized" form of H5N1 emerging through genetic recombination in the body of a human co-infected with H5N1 and another influenza virus type (a process called reassortment) could be reduced by widespread seasonal influenza vaccination in the general population. I"
And here is what the CDC has to say on this situation as well
CDC website "Seasonal influenza vaccination will not prevent infection with avian influenza A viruses, but can reduce the risk of co-infection with human and avian influenza A viruses. "

So here is what I conclude

Taking the Seasonal Influenza vaccine cannot directly prevent Avian Flu (H5N1), since they are antigenically different.
However, it can assist in a couple of situations
1. It can prevent co-infections with seasonal flu & bird flu together - kind of obvious since it will prevent seasonal flu.
2. It can thus help prevent a humanized form of bird flu virus happening, since if the bird flu virus and the seasonal flu together infect someone, they may exchange/ share their genes, leading to increased transmission of the bird flu disease to humans.
This is the basic rationale for doing flu vaccine in situations where bird flu exists.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Can we give Measles/ MMR vaccine in mild cold cough and fever?

Q: My baby completed 9 months of age, measles vaccine is due. we took the baby to govt vaccine centre, but they told us, as the baby is suffering from cold and cough, measles vaccine should not be given. Is that true?
A: For mild cold cough and other minor illnesses, vaccines should NOT be routinely postponed. You can take the measles vaccine in this situation. However, you should talk to a child specialist if there is any doubt regarding the actual illness in your baby.

Monday, December 08, 2014

100 % effective ways to prevent Dengue (HUMOR)

Dengue Prevention…….
Dengue cases are on rise.Few steps to prevent yourself from mosquito bites :
Burn camphor in the room.. The camphor does nothing to the mosquitoes but burns your eyes so much that you are wide awake and alert thru the night to kill them with your bare hands.
Grow a papaya tree in your backyard. The mosquitoes will realize you already know the cure for dengue so they will leave you alone.
If you are married - Keep a self attested copy of your marriage certificate on your bedside table. The mosquitoes will realize what torture you are already going thru and will leave you alone.       
Issued in public interest…..

Is Kajal / Kohl/ Surma application in eyes harmful for babies in India?

No. It's recommended that your baby's eyes be kept free of kajalsurma or kohl.  Using kajal can lead to watery eyes, itchiness, and even allergies. When kajal is washed off during a bath, it can pass down the small and narrow opening between the eyes and the nose. This opening can get blocked, causing infections
Most commercially produced kajal and surma brands contain high levels of lead that is harmful for your baby. The ingredients or packaging could also be contaminated if safety and hygiene norms haven't been followed. Even if some brands claim they are lead-free or 100 per cent natural it's difficult to be sure and they may be just as unsafe. 
Prolonged application may result in excessive lead storage in the body. This could affect your baby's brain, organs and bone marrow formation. Some experts think that lead poisoning can also result in anaemia, low IQ and convulsions. 
Also, the cornea or the central, black part of the eye, is very sensitive to dirt and irritation. Dirty fingers, sharp and uneven fingernails can hurt a baby’s eyes. Prolonged or repeated exposure to lead may cause pain and discomfort, and in severe cases, can also affect your baby's vision
Applying kajal to a newborn's eyes is an age old tradition practised in many parts of the country. Well-meaning relatives and friends may advise you to apply surma or kajal to your newborn's eyes to ward off the evil eye or buri nazar. According to an old wives' tale, applying kajal or surma will help your baby's eyes become bright, large and attractive. But there is no evidence to suggest this is true. If you wish to apply kajal or surma on your baby, why don't you try applying it somewhere other than the eye? Some mums put a small tika on the sole of the foot, behind one of the ears or at the hairline on the forehead. These are safer options.

The traditional home recipe for kajal is discussed below...

How to Make Kajal at Home?

The easiest way of preparing home-made kajal is as follows:

  • Take a clean, white, thin muslin cloth of 4x4 size and soak it in sandalwood paste and dry it in shade; this sip-and-dry process must be done throughout the daytime.
  • In the evening, roll the cloth into a thin wick and lit a mud lamp with this filled with castor oil.
  • Keep a brass plate smeared with garlic juice over the lamp leaving a little gap enough for the oxygen to aid the burning of the lamp overnight.
  • Next morning, scrape off the carbon powder that is deposited on the brass plate into a clean dry box and mix it with few drops of pure ghee or castor oil and store it.
This can be used on daily basis as the ingredients you use for this preparation have medicinal values. You can even enjoy keeping the old beliefs intact using this home-made kajal cutting out the risks of the harmful effects of kajal for eyes. Though home-med Kajal is deemed to be safe, it is not good to play with your baby’s eyes. It is advisable to keep your baby’s eyes free from kajal or any other substance which can prove harmful for baby’s eyes.

There are some studies that suggest that most problems suggested due to kajal are theoretical in nature, rather than seen in practice, however the general consensus is to avoid putting ANYTHING in the sensitive eyes of a baby.
Read more here

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Now Spain ends Ebola Transmission

World Heatlh Organization: Media Centre: December 2, 2014
Today the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declares the Ebola outbreak in Spain over and commends the country on its diligence to end transmission of the virus.
On 6 October 2014, the Spanish National Reference Laboratory confirmed the first human-to-human transmission of Ebola virus disease outside Africa in a healthcare worker. The healthcare worker had been part of a team at La Paz-Carlos III Hospital providing medical care for a person with Ebola virus disease repatriated from Sierra Leone on 22 September.
On 21 October the healthcare worker tested negative for the second time and was consequently considered free of Ebola infection. Today, 2 December 2014, marks 42 days since the healthcare worker tested negative. There have been no further cases since the healthcare worker was confirmed to be negative for Ebola virus, so today the outbreak is over in Spain.
Spanish authorities identified and monitored 87 people who had been in contact with the healthcare worker. All were actively monitored and 15 high-risk contacts were put under quarantine at La Paz-Carlos III Hospital. All finished the 21-day follow-up period by 31 October 2014.
In addition, 145 hospital employees were in contact with the patient during her stay at the hospital. They were also actively monitored and all completed their 21-day monitoring period without developing Ebola virus disease.
WHO commends Spain for the measures put in place to identify potential cases and prevent further transmission of the Ebola virus. These measures included exhaustive contact tracing of both high- and low-risk contacts, daily active monitoring of all contacts, training in and monitoring of correct use of personal protective equipment for all healthcare workers caring for the patient infected with Ebola virus.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Storing vaccine at home refrigerator - is it a good idea?

Query : 
IPV vaccine store in room temperature in house hold refrigerator which was given to my baby.3 times ..i want to know its efficacy due wrong storage _? please give me details if IPV store more than 8 degree C temperature.

It is NEVER a good idea to store vaccines in the home refrigerator.
That being said, Inactivated vaccines (not live) are not affected by heat to a very large extent, and would remain effective even if the temperature goes slightly above the recommended 8 degrees Celsius.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Does the new Pneumonia vaccine PCV 13 - Prevenar, reduce rates of hospital admission due to pneumonia? Results from US data

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Comment: While the Pneumonia vaccine has been introduced relatively later in India, and still faces a lot of resistance due to its high price (almost 4000 INR ~ 70 USD), this is good evidence that shows that it really reduces the risk of Invasive Pneumonia in the children. Data from India would be better, but is unsurprisingly unavailable.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

20 day old baby with small amount of bloody discharge from belly button (umbilicus)

Q: I have a 20 day old newborn baby with small amount of bloody discharge from belly button (umbilicus), is this anything serious?

A: Generally speaking NO, small amounts of blody discharge that is of minimal quantity is normal during this period, due to the wound left after the stump falls off. This can last for 1-2 weeks.
However, bleeding from any other site, local pus / foul smelling discahrge and redness / pain locally is abnormal. Also bleeding that persisits for more than 15 minutes continuously, needs to be evaluated by your doctor.
Read more at Dr Sears

Monday, December 01, 2014

Weaning food for 8 month old baby in Kerala, India

Q: Hi sir.Im Frm Kerala. I read ur profile n decided to seek advice.I hav a son of 8 th month. And Im very confused in his food habituats, as its my first experience. In dis mnth I dnt knw wt to gv hm n wt not to. Actually I strtd Frm one f da powder Humana vch is bought Frm Dubai..n I used to gve him banana, boiled n den pureed. N den rice n ny veg lyk carrot Ya beetroot Ya potato boild n pureed.. I wnt to get a full n perfect timetabl Vch will help me. N more advices in health care .....
Thank you

A: Thanks for contacting me,
I understand your concern,
There is no full & perfect timetable :) for feeding a baby.
This is because the baby will NOT follow any time table!
You seem to be going on the right track, since we want to feed basically home made food in a slightly liquid consistency to the baby.
I would recommend using home cooked food, without any significant spices, and then mashing them up, and feeding the child,
There is no need for a specific timetable for most babies.
Check for weight gain, and talk to your pediatrician for any concerns,
You can get some more ideas here

Warm regards
Dr Gupta

Confused about "Optional Vaccinations" for Indian children

Q: My baby was born in 29.9.2014 it almost crossed age of 2 months. My doctor had told me to take Rota virus vaccine and Pneumococcal Vaccine , it is necessary to take the same, otherwise it is optional, so i am confused please help me . for taking the vaccines

A: From 2011 onward, the Indian Academy of Pediatrics no longer uses the older classification of routine and optional vaccines. 
Now all the vaccines are divided as Recommended vaccines & "Vaccines in Special Situations" .
You can find the IAP 2013 vaccine recommendations here
Both Rotavirus & Pneumococcal vaccines are Recommended vaccines and should be provided to ALL children whose parents can afford them.
This is because diarrhea and pneumonia are the commonest causes of admission & deaths in children under the age of 5 years in India, and any vaccination that can reduce this burden substantially should be taken by the largest number of children possible.
In fact, Sh Narender Modi has recently announced that along with MMR & Polio Injection, Rotavirus would be provided free of charge to all children in India as soon as feasible, through the government health care systems.
So the short answer is, if you can afford it, take both the rotavirus & pneumonia vaccines for your baby. Remember Rotavirus vaccine cannot be started after the age of 4 months.