Children are perhaps the most versatile of all patients. From those who can only cry to express how bad they might be feeling at any particular moments to the older ones who can fully explain what is bothering them and where, a paediatrician’s day is full of surprises.
Children tend to suffer from different illness as the seasons change. For example, in the summer, child specialists see a lot of cases of diarrhea and vomiting. Typhoid fever also peaks during these months and responds to treatment slowly. The most common reason for this is the frequent changing of doctors by parents which generally means a change in prescriptions. This leads to the emergence of a multiple drug resistant organism.
Drinking unsafe water also contributes to a host of hepatic and diarrhoeal diseases. Of utmost importance is washing hands frequently as this not only protects against a lot of diseases but also helps in containing many communicable illnesses.
Heat and humidity conned with persistent power failures may lead to various types of skin rashes and infected skin lesions such as impetigo, carbuncle and furuncle, the more so with children because of their extra sensitive skins.
Flu-like symptoms are also common among children coming to the clinic. Those prone to allergies may come with complaints of asthma, runny nose and skin infections. Nappy rash also peaks during the summer months and may be of the fungal or the contact dermatitis varieties, and is especially worse in children under six months of age.
As a paediatrician, I hear a lot of grandma myths, hand-me-down taboos and false beliefs about different type of foods from my patients’ parents. Even educated parents, medial doctors included, tend to believe in many such bizarre ideas, what to say of the uneducated lot.
Here as some examples.
- Parents refrain from giving chapattis to children suffering from typhoid fever and hepatitis. Children suffering from cough are strictly not allowed to eat bananas and rice on the pretext that this results in the increased production of sputum. All such beliefs are followed without any scientific basis.
- Perhaps the worst feeling you get as a paediatrician is when the parents of a child under you are express dissatisfaction because their child has not recovered well within three to four days.
- This usually results in changing the doctor which may actually cause the child to suffer more as every new doctor starts treatment from the base line.
By Dr Syed Ahmer Hamid
The writer is a consultant paediatrician at