Why Your Baby Needs Vi­ta­min K Vac­ci­na­tion

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - OPINION - By Ozo Mordi

VI­TA­MIN K helps to pre­vent ex­ces­sive bleed­ing by aid­ing the clot­ting of the blood. It is there­fore seen as es­sen­tial that par­ents ask that new ba­bies are vac­ci­nated with Vi­ta­min K. Ba­bies who are born newly do not have enough of it stored in the body and they can nei­ther pro­duce enough of the amount they need to help them on their own.

A baby who is given the in­jec­tion is the one who is pro­tected from too much blood loss, if he has an in­jury to his del­i­cate blood ves­sel or it bursts all of a sud­den to cause ex­cess bleed­ing.

With­out the pro­tec­tion pro­vided by this com­pound, baby stands a se­ri­ous risk of se­ri­ous brain hem­or­rhage.

Ac­cord­ing to med­i­cal ex­perts, bleed­ing which are due to Vi­ta­min K de­fi­ciency used to be rare but more cases have been recorded in re­cent times be­cause some par­ents are turn­ing down the op­tion of in­clud­ing the in­jec­tion in their im­mu­niza­tion plan, although the blood lost as re­sult of ex­ces­sive bleed­ing is enough to cause per­ma­nent brain dam­age, they warn.

What is Vi­ta­min K?

On the main, Vi­ta­min K groups are not seen as food sup­ple­ments, but are known as a group of com­pounds, the most pop­u­lar be­ing Vi­ta­min K1 and Vi­ta­min K2. They are nat­u­rally de­rived from leafy green veg­eta­bles like spinach, as­para­gus, broc­coli and soya beans. They are deriv­able also from eggs, straw­ber­ries, meat and cheese. They are bro­ken down by bac­te­ria.

A sin­gle in­jec­tion of this Vi­ta­min is what a new­born baby needs for pro­tec­tion.

Why they are nec­es­sary

Although Vi­ta­min K de­fi­cien­cies are rare in adults, but those who are at risk in­clude peo­ple who have dis­eases that hin­der ab­sorp­tion in the di­ges­tive tract. Those who take drugs that hin­der Vi­ta­min K ab­sorp­tion should opt for it. It is rec­om­mended for the se­verely mal­nour­ished as well as to those who drink al­co­hol ex­ces­sively.

The use of Vi­ta­min K to treat can­cer has not re­ceived ex­pert ap­proval and their ef­fi­ca­cies in the con­trol of symp­toms of morn­ing sick­ness are yet to re­ceive the ap­proval of re­searchers.

It has also been touted as a rem­edy for re­moval of veins but ex­pert opin­ions about these claims dif­fer still and nei­ther is it au­then­tic that Vi­ta­min K2 treats Os­teo­poro­sis and steroidin­duced loss of bone mass.

The Right Doses

In the main, we get enough of Vi­ta­min K from our di­ets. But these are rec­om­mended needs both from our di­ets and other sources:

. Chil­dren from zero age to six months should sub­sist on two mi­cro­grams of Vi­ta­min K a day. . From seven months to 12 months, 2.5 mi­cro­grams daily . In­fants who are up to one year ought to have a daily in­take that is up to 30 mi­cro­grams.

. Four years to eight years need up to 55 mi­cro­grams; while nine to 13 years must have up to 60 mi­cro­grams for max­i­mum pro­tec­tion.

. Girls who are in age bracket of 14 to 18 years need 75 mi­cro­grams while women 19 years and above should have a min­i­mum of 90 mi­cro­grams.

. Preg­nant women and those who are breast- feed­ing should have a daily rec­om­men­da­tion of 90 mi­cro­grams.

. Boys who are be­tween 14 and 18, 75 mi­cro­gram daily, while men, 19 and above, should en­sure that their in­take of the Vi­ta­min is not less than 120 mi­cro­grams daily.

Side ef­fects are rare if the right doses are ad­hered to. Drugs like antacids, blood thin­ners, an­tibi­otics and as­pirin may in­ter­fere with the ab­sorp­tion of Vi­ta­min K. Oth­ers that may not agree with it are drugs used in can­cer treat­ment, seizures and high level of choles­terol.

Do not use un­less rec­om­mended by doc­tor. Those al­ready tak­ing par­tic­u­lar drugs for heart con­di­tions, clot­ting disor­ders may have to watch their di­ets closely in or­der not over­dose on Vi­ta­min k.

But those who cham­pion it for new­born ba­bies stress that pae­di­a­tri­cians have given it to ba­bies for up to 50 years. They say that there are no known risks to ba­bies ex­cept the brief pain as the in­jec­tion is ad­min­is­tered on the thigh. Vi­ta­min K is given af­ter birth, but a mother who is scared of the in­jec­tion could ask for the oral dose where and if it is avail­able.

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