The thyroid gland is located just below the Adam’s apple and is an important organ in any human body. The shape resembles to a butterfly but it is actually more powerful a gland than the other glands.

The main job of a thyroid gland is to secrete hormones namely T3 and T4 with the help from other endocrine glands. They are the reason an infant grows into a kid and later into an adult. The hormonal changes occurring in infants and kids are an effect of the hormonal activity.

The thyroid is the most important gland or organ in the body as they stabilize metabolic activities and also interferes in puberty, organ functioning and fertility.  Most of these hormones also help in building calcium growth. This is the reason why thyroids remain to be the most important element in any human body. They experience problems that sometimes get difficult to understand. It is always better to understand and diagnose thyroids in children before planning the treatment procedure.

Hypothyroidism can be caused due to a weak or inactive thyroid while hyperthyroidism is a result of an overactive thyroid. Doctors will first check for the level of hormone in the body by actually collecting the blood screens and a blood test.  Family medical history does play an important role in identifying the kind of thyroid in an infant. Sometimes iodine deficiency can also cause thyroid problems in kids.

The thyroids remain underdeveloped and fail to secrete necessary hormones into the body. Kids need to have a proper diet if they seem to display certain symptoms of thyroids.

On the contrary kids suffering from hyperthyroidism eventually look over excited and lose an excessive amount of weight, and fail to sleep on time. The facial expression always remains scared and pointblank most of the time. They also face problems when it comes to tolerating heat and cold. Sometimes thyroid nodules are found in kids that can turn into cancer.

Hence a proper scan needs to be done to effect out such a possibility.  It is extremely sad that none of the scientists have ever come across any kind of complete treatment or recovery for thyroids. They hope to come out with a cure for this genetic symptom or issue that messes the whole body making life difficult to cope with.

Infectious Mononucleosis, more commonly known as Mono, is a viral illness characterized by flu-like symptoms, fatigue and swollen lymph glands. Infectious mononucleosis, does not only affect teens or young adults. Young children can also suffer from this illness, which is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. So it’s important to watch for signs and symptoms of mono in children.

Mono cannot be easily diagnosed in children as they might don’t show at all or they can be mistaken as cold or flu. This virus does not make children as sick as it does teens and adults.

For diagnosing it in children some times create a problem in children under 4 as if they are infected then also they shoe it negative. In order for a child to be properly diagnosed, the attending physician must perform a physical exam, which will determine if the child has the symptoms denoting mononucleosis .Once a child acquires EBV, she will have it forever, even after she recovers.

The virus may reactivate, but she won’t get mono again; she will pass it on to others. Children who are infected may feel tiredness and can have a fever and it follows a sore throat. Some time it may found swelling in glands in the neck and other places with fever and tiredness.

Enlarged spleen, rashes, abdominal pain or a runny nose are common symptoms of the disease found in children. Alone or in combination with one another, these signs could indicate that your child is suffering from mono. If you expect that you or your child may have mononucleosis, consult your doctor. Based on your symptoms, and some basic lab work, your doctor should be able to diagnose mono rather quickly. Always follow the advice from your physician.

Modern medicine is totally powerless against viral infections like mononucleosis. Fortunately, most cases are mild. The patient must stay in bed for a few days and not return to work or school too soon.

The main concern for parents of children with mononucleosis is to keep the child resting until he or she fully recovers from the illness. Parents should also be aware of the symptoms of more serious complications of the liver and spleen, and should seek medical attention for a child who complains of severe abdominal pain, light-headedness, rapid heartbeat, or difficulty breathing.

Do take care of your child’s physical needs during his bout with mononucleosis and provided him with interesting activities that won’t wear him out. Still, it’s important for you, the parent, to take time out of your busy schedule to spend quality time with your sick child. A parent’s nearness is always reassuring and such comfort during time of illness can be a factor in the speed with which your child recovers from this debilitating virus.

The sore throat and dehydration that usually accompany mononucleosis may be relieved by drinking water and fruit juices. Gargling salt water or taking throat lozenges may also relieve discomfort. In addition, taking over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, may relieve symptoms.

Although there is no way to avoid becoming infected with EBV, paying general attention to good hygiene and avoiding sharing beverage glasses or having close contact with people who have mononucleosis or cold symptoms can help prevent infection.

Pneumonia is a life threatening disease and every year, it is responsible for the death of millions of individuals across the world. Thus, if you have any doubts that you may have pneumonia, you should rush to your doctor immediately.

The incidence of Pneumonia is more prevalent in children, older adults and patients suffering from chronic illnesses. The basic understanding of signs and symptoms of Pneumonia goes a long way in successful and quick treatment of the disease. 

In case, you have any of the following symptoms and they remain for long time then you should see your doctor.

                    Cough and Cold due to infection in the upper respiratory tract

                    High Fever with temperature of 102 F or higher for more than one day

                    Sharp and severe chest pain that worsens while coughing or inhaling

                    Breathe Shortness

                    Shaking Chills and Profuse Sweating

                    Overall health gets worsened after catching flu or cold

Children

As children do not develop prominent symptoms of Pneumonia therefore it is essential that you should take your child to the paediatrician immediately if you have even a slight doubt of presence of pneumonia.

Older Adult

You should visit your medical care or hospital on priority basis in case you are an older adult and symptoms of Pneumonia are present. The individuals who are alcoholic or injured; need to seek immediate medical attention as they are more prone to infections in the lungs.

Individuals with weak Immune System

The patients who have weakened immune system due to AIDS, immuno suppressive drugs, chemotherapy, etc are more susceptible to get Pneumonia than otherwise healthy persons. 

Similarly, patients who have other chronic illnesses like Asthma or who need organ transplant or who is under treatment for cancer are more vulnerable to pneumonia.

Once your child gets discharged from the hospital after being treated with Pneumonia, you may continue with his/her treatment to ensure that your kid makes speedy recovery at home.

The treatment at hospital improves the symptoms like fever and breathing; and your child receives enough liquids and nutrition.

Self Care at Home

At home, Kids will still have few symptoms of pneumonia and thus it is crucial to practise proper self care for ensuring that your kid will get healthy soon.

It takes time to recover completely and resume all the normal activities. Usually the symptoms get better over a period of few weeks.

Coughing of your child will improve over one to 2 weeks

Your child Sleep and eating will return to normal level in one week

For few days, you need to take leave from your work to take care of your child. Your child may need to skip school for one week.

Useful Tips for Self Care in Pneumonia

                    You should give proper attention to your child needs and monitor his/her progress at regular intervals.

                    You may practise chest therapy on your child at home to improve his/her breathing and loosening mucus. The warm and moist (wet) air helps in breathing easily.

                    You should keep a warm and wet piece of cloth loosely over your child face. You can fill a humidifier with warm water and allow your child to breathe in the warm mist.

                    You should encourage your child to practise deep breathing regularly as it will help in opening up the lungs for easy breathing. Also ask your child to practise deep coughing as it leads to cleaning of the airways.

                    You can make your child lie on the bed with head lower than chest. Follow this with slowly tapping of your child’s chest couple of times. It assists in expelling the mucus from the lungs.

                    You should encourage your child to drink plenty of liquids, fluids, water, juice, warm tea, lemonade, etc.

If your child is younger than 12 months, you should feed him/her with breast milk

If your child is older than 12 months, you should feed him/her whole milk.

                    Maintain a clean and hygienic environment in your house and especially in your child room

                    Don’t allow others to touch your child without washing their hands thoroughly with soap.

 

Medicines and Basic Hygiene

                    You should ensure that your child is taking his/her medicines regularly. Always consult a doctor before giving any cough medicine or cold medicine to your child.

                    In case your child is experiencing mild pain, you should consult your doctor before giving any pain killer like ibuprofen for treating mild fever or pain.

                    Consult with your doctor if your child can be given a flu shot or receive vaccines for pneumonia.

                    Teach your child to maintain strict basic hygiene. Ask him/her to wash hands frequently to avoid getting any infection.

                    Avoid taking your child to crowded places and do not allow your child to get in contact with infected or sick people.

Pneumonia is the leading single cause of death in children across the world. In fact, the number of deaths caused by Pneumonia is more than number of deaths caused by measles, malaria and AIDS combined.

Statistics related to Pneumonia

                    Pneumonia causes 19 per cent deaths in children (estimated 1.4 million children) under the age of five years every year.

                    Every year, 156 million new pneumonia cases are reported and around 8.7 per cent of these cases are severe and need hospitalization.

                    India reports maximum number of new cases of pneumonia (43 million).  China comes second with 21 million new cases and Pakistan is third in the list with 10 million new cases.

                    Every year, pneumonia causes death of 410,000 children in India.

                    Streptococcus pneumonia and Haemophilus influenza are responsible for causing pneumonia in more than 50% of all childhood cases.

                    As per the results of various studies, the mortality rate of pneumonia can be decreased by using following methods.

Effective immunization

Early diagnosis

Optimal case management

Exclusive breastfeeding for six months

Minimizing indoor air pollution

Preventive antibiotic treatment in HIV infected children

Zinc supplementation

                    Major infectious agents of Pneumonia include bacteria, viruses or fungi.

                    Addressing environmental factors, immunization, and adequate nutrition go a long way in preventing pneumonia.

                    Although Pneumonia can be treated by using antibiotics; only 30% of infected children have access to the required antibiotics.

                    Every day, an estimated 4,300 young lives are claimed by pneumonia (one young life every 20 seconds).

                    There is a huge difference in the number of pneumonia led deaths in children in developed and developing countries. An estimated 98 percent of children who died due to pneumonia belong to developing countries.

                    For every death of child due to pneumonia in developed nations, there are 2,000 children that die in developing countries.

                    Only 1 out of every 5 infected children receives antibiotics for treating pneumonia.

What is Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine (PPV23)?

The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV23) is the vaccine that provides protection against 23 serotypes of pneumococcal bacteria. After receiving the vaccine shot, healthy individuals develop protection against most of Pneumococcal strains within 2 to 3 weeks.

PPV23 can be administered along with other vaccines as it is an inactivated vaccine and one does not need to wait for receiving PPV23 after other vaccines are administered.

What is the need of PPV23?

Pneumococcal pneumonia is a killer disease that affects thousands of individuals every year across the world. In severe cases, it leads to life threatening conditions such as meningitis or bacteraemia.

It can affect anyone; however some individuals are more susceptible for getting infection such as 65 and older persons, infants and children, people with associated health conditions like heart or lung disease, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, etc.

Thus, prevention of Pneumococcal pneumonia with PPV23 vaccine drastically reduces the mortality rate associated with this dreaded disease.

Indications for vaccination with PPV23

Do you need a vaccination dose with PPV23? If you fall into any of the below mentioned categories, then you may visit your health care provider and discuss about receiving the vaccination dose.

                    Older Adults in age group of 65 years and above; need to get vaccinated if they are previously unvaccinated.

                    Individuals who smoke cigarettes should get vaccinated

                    Individuals (age between 2–64 years) with following conditions should get vaccinated

                    Chronic cardiovascular disease such as congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy

                    Chronic pulmonary disease such as COPD, emphysema, asthma

                    Diabetes mellitus, cochlear implant patients

                    Chronic liver disease such as cirrhosis, alcoholic, or have a cerebrospinal fluid leak

                    Individuals who are residents of Alaska Natives or certain American Indian populations

                    Individuals between 2–64 years and have functional or anatomic Asplenia

                    Individuals (age 2 years and older) with immune-compromised system due to HIV/AIDS infection, Hodgkin’s disease, generalized malignancy, chronic renal failure, leukaemia, etc. 

                    Individuals who are receiving immune-suppressive therapy

                    Individuals who had receive an organ or bone marrow transplant

Do you need a second dose of PPSV?

If you had already received a dose of PPV23, you should check if you need a second dose of the PPV23 vaccine.

A second dose of PPV23 is indicated in the following conditions.

                    All children and adults (above 64 years) who are at greatest risk of life threatening pneumococcal disease 

                    All children and adults (above 64 years) who exhibit rapid decline in pneumococcal antibody levels

                    All adults (age 65 years and above) who were vaccinated with PPV23 before 65 years and there is gap of 5 years or more since the first dose.

Risks from PCV23

There is very minimal chance of any severe or life threatening medical problem due to vaccine.

The patient may experience following mild reactions.

 

                    Allergic reaction

                    Redness or tenderness in the region where shot was administered

                    Swelling in the region where shot was administered

                    Mild fever

 

Streptococcus Pneumoniae is responsible for causing pneumonia in vast majority of the population. This notorious bacterium not only infects the upper respiratory tract but also spread to the other organs of the body such as blood, lungs, or nervous system.

Pneumonia caused by Streptococcus Pneumoniae is known as Pneumococcal Pneumonia.

Risk Factors of Pneumococcal Pneumonia

There are certain individuals who are at high risk for Pneumococcal Pneumonia.

                    Children younger than 5 years

                    Old and adults above 65 years of age

                    Individuals with associated medical conditions like chronic heart, lung, or liver diseases

                    Individuals with sickle cell anaemia

                    People with HIV/AIDS

                    Individuals with organ transplants

                    Individuals who take immune-compromising medications

Causes of Pneumococcal Pneumonia

The Pneumococcal Pneumonia is caused by wide range of infectious agents including viruses, bacteria, and even fungi.

                    Streptococcus pneumoniae

Transmission of Pneumococcal Pneumonia

You should be aware of various ways by which Pneumococcal Pneumonia can be transmitted.

                    By getting in touch with sick people

                    By individuals who carry bacteria in their throat

                    By respiratory droplets from the nose/mouth of infected person

                    From children who carry bacteria in their throats

Symptoms of Pneumococcal Pneumonia

The onset of the symptoms of Pneumococcal pneumonia is immediate when the patient experiences severe shaking chill followed by common symptoms of Pneumonia.

                    High fever

                    Pain in the chest

                    Breathe Shortness

                    Cough

                    Rapid breathing

Other symptoms includes Nausea, Muscle aches, Headache, Tiredness and Vomiting.

Diagnosis of Pneumococcal Pneumonia

The diagnostic tests for Pneumococcal Pneumonia include the following.

                    Physical exam

                    Laboratory  tests

                    Chest x-ray

                    Blood Test

                    Saliva Test

                    Lung fluid Test

Treatment of Pneumococcal Pneumonia

The treatment of pneumococcal pneumonia is done by using antibiotics and patients can get symptomatic improvement within 12 to 36 hours after taking medicine.

                    Patient is asked to drink plenty of fluids including juices, water, tea, lemonade, etc.

                    Oxygen is usually used in hospitalised patient with breathing problems

                    Use of humidified air helps in loosening the mucus

                    Patient may take aspirin, NSAIDs, for controlling fever. However, Aspirin should not be given to children.

                    Patient is advised to take plenty of rest.

                    Chest therapy is used for loosening the mucus so that it can be expelled out by deep coughing.

Complications of Pneumococcal Pneumonia

The complications of Pneumococcal Pneumonia lead to the following severe conditions.

                    Bacteraemia

                    Lung problems

                    Heart problems

Prevention of Pneumococcal Pneumonia

The prevention of Pneumococcal Pneumonia can be done by taking care of following points.

                    Practice a healthy lifestyle

                    Avoid smoking

                    Avoid contact with infected people

                    Maintain good hygiene

                    Avoid contact with people infected with measles or chickenpox

                    Vaccinations

What is the need of PCV 13?

The PCV 13 is used for the prevention of pneumococcal infections because the treatment of these infections is hard due to drug resistant strains of the bacteria. The Streptococcus pneumonia bacteria cause severe infection such as pneumonia and meningitis; especially in young children. 

The new pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) provides protection from 13 strains of pneumococcal infections and found to be effective in preventing the occurrence of pneumonia in almost 80% of the cases among children under 5.

PCV13 is usually administered to the infants at high risk for serious diseases due to pneumococcal infections. The PCV13 can be given along with other vaccines.

Indications for PCV13

Infants and Children Under 2 Years of Age

PCV13 is administered as a series of 4 doses to infants and children under 2 years of age. The health care provider decides about the number of doses and length of intervals between them after considering the age of children.

It is also recommended for those children who had received PCV7 doses as they can complete their immunization series with PCV13.

Older Children and Adolescents

Children (age between 2 and 6 years) suffering from various medical conditions such as AIDS, Chronic lung or heart disease, sickle cell disease and others; should get 1 or 2 doses of PCV13 (doses to be determined by health care provider)

Healthy Children (age between 2 and 5 years) who had not received PCV7 or PCV13 before the age of 2 years.

Children and adolescents (age between 6 and 18 years) with certain medical conditions should be administered doses of PCV13 although they had received PCV7 or PPSV23 earlier.

Children who had received immunization series with PCV7

Healthy children less than 5 years can be given one dose of PCV13

Children with medical conditions (less than 6 years) can be given one dose of PCV13.

The doses should be given after recommendations from experienced health care provider.

Risks from PCV13

There is very minimal chance of any severe or life threatening medical problem due to vaccine. Even if severe allergic reactions are present, they will disappear within few hours after the vaccination procedure.

The patient may experience following mild reactions.

 

                    Allergic reaction

                    Drowsiness

                    Temporary loss of appetite

                    Redness or tenderness in the region where shot was administered

                    Swelling in the region where shot was administered

                    Mild fever

                    Fussy or irritable behaviour

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP)

In 1986, a VICP program was brought into existence for providing compensation to those individuals who claim that they have been injured by a vaccine.

Individuals can file their claim with VICP through any of the following ways.

                    By calling 1-800-338-2382

                    By visiting the website at http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation

Sources of information about PCV13

Individuals can get the further information about PCV13 from the following sources.

                    Health care provider

                    Vaccine package insert

                    By calling local or state health department

                    By contacting CDC office (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

                    By making calls at 1-800-232-4636 (1-800-CDC-INFO)

                    By visiting the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines