DHAKA, May 23, 2022 (BSS) - Jahed Rahman, aged about four, was suddenly infected by diarrhoea. His condition worsened quickly on the second day. Although he was taken to the cholera hospital, but it took some time for his condition to improve which created a panic among Jahed's parents.
Jahed's parents said that they had diarrhoea patients at home and they were not aware of the fact that diarrhoea is contagious, they never thought that if infected it (diarrhoea) will create a life threat for their child. In fact, it is important to keep in mind that children should be handled very carefully until they are five years old. At the same time, adequate measures should be taken to save them from various contagious diseases.
Physicians said that not only diarrhoea, but children have a higher rate of getting infected with various contagious diseases and parents must remain aware of the diseases.
They said children should be kept isolated from adults, if they (adults) are infected with any contagious diseases.
In particular, children under 5 years are especially vulnerable to infectious diseases like malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea, HIV and tuberculosis. So, preventive measures should be taken to save them from these diseases.
As children gets older, their immunity increases and risk of getting infected with various diseases decreases, they added.
Dr Kuntal Roy, a pediatrician and assistant professor of pediatrics department at Anwar Khan Modern Hospital said, "Usually children are more prone to getting infected with waterborne and airborne viruses, bacteria and respiratory infections."
Mentioning that malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea, HIV and tuberculosis are the five most contagious diseases for children, he said, "If infected, situation can worsen drastically for a baby aged between two months and under 5 years."
In addition, there are also a variety of infectious diseases such as seasonal common cold, typhoid, hepatitis, cholera, Covid-19, Roy added.
Parents should follow certain rules to keep their children away from infectious diseases, advised Dr. Shakil Ahmed, a professor of pediatrics department at Dhaka Medical College.
"Humans usually have germs in their eyes, mouth, nose, faces and skin," he said, adding that "People who are ill should refrain from kissing, touching and shaking hands with children, even touching children's toys."
Mentioning that germs can be found in tissues and door handles used by sick people, he said children should be kept away from all these things.
Besides, some germs spread through the phlegm, said Dr Ahmed, adding that if this kind of situation happens while traveling, then the persons have to stay at least one meter away from the infected person.
On the other hand, some germs also spread through the air such as chicken pox and measles, he said. In this case, if there are such patients at home, they should be kept in a separate room.
Dr Ahmed opined, "In this case, it is better to vaccinate children."
Replying to a query regarding under what condition a child's health deteriorates, Kuntal Roy said, "If the child cannot eat, vomits a lot, faints or has convulsions, has more shortness of breath than his age and sunken chest, he should be taken to the doctor or hospital immediately."
He added, "The government is giving vaccines to keep the children healthy and to boost their immunity."
Roy continued that children should be fed water after boiling 15-30 minutes at all times, and they should wear masks and keep away from those who have any kind of infectious disease.
"Of course, they (children) need to eat a balanced diet and boost their immunity," he added.
A study published on November 29, 2021 by the Child Health Research Foundation (CHRF), a non-governmental organization founded with the objective of "Preventing Infections Saving Lives", showed that half a million children under the age of two months die every year in Bangladesh from a deadly infection.
The government, however, said that it was more in the past but now they are trying to reduce this number further.
Answering to a query regarding how the government is working to reduce the infection, Dr. Md. Tanvir Hossain, Deputy Program Manager of the EPI and Surveillance of the Department of Health, said "The government gives ten vaccines to children from zero to one year of age to prevent infectious diseases, which is also given in remote areas of the country."
"In addition, special care is taken for such children in hospitals and research is going on," he said, adding that "the amount of vaccination may increase in future which will further decrease the rate of infection."
Health experts said alongside administering vaccines, mass awareness should be created to prevent outbreak of infectious disease among the children.
It is important to be very careful with the baby, especially during pregnancy and up to two months of age, they added.
They continued that parents and physicians need to monitor the children closely before the children turn five years of age and the media can play an important role in building this awareness.