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Your Baby & Toddler - - Baby Files: Baby -

HAND, FOOT AND MOUTH DIS­EASE

A com­mon child­hood ill­ness caused by an en­terovirus, most of­ten Cox­sackie A6 and A16.

HEAD LICE

An in­fes­ta­tion of the head and neck area by tiny par­a­sitic in­sects. SYMP­TOMS: Itchy scalp, tiny red bite marks on the scalp. You might see the eggs, or nits (small white bumps), near the base of the hairs. HOW SE­RI­OUS? Treat at home af­ter a visit to the phar­macy for an ap­pro­pri­ate lice sham­poo, but speak to your doc­tor if your child is younger than two or has al­ler­gies or asthma. TREAT­MENT: Ev­ery­one in the home must be treated at the same time even if they have no symp­toms. Dr Sin­clair rec­om­mends us­ing treat­ments made from tea tree, and cau­tions that toxic treat­ments should be avoided. Wash combs and brushes in boil­ing wa­ter.

HER­NIA

This oc­curs when an or­gan or fatty tis­sue squeezes through a weak spot in a sur­round­ing mus­cle or con­nec­tive tis­sue. SYMP­TOMS: A soft swelling around the navel or above the groin crease or scro­tum. It may not be present in the morn­ing but ap­pear later in the day. It may get big­ger if your child cries or tenses her mus­cles. HOW SE­RI­OUS? Um­bil­i­cal her­nias are quite com­mon and should re­solve on their own. In boys, a groin her­nia may be­come stran­gu­lated and need to be re­paired.

TREAT­MENT: A mi­nor op­er­a­tion may be nec­es­sary to cor­rect it, but this is usu­ally left un­til af­ter five years of age.

SYMP­TOMS: Tired­ness, fever and the ap­pear­ance of blis­ters in or around the mouth, on the hands and on the feet af­ter a day or two. The blis­ters may burst and crust over. Some­times a rash ap­pears be­fore the blis­ters, which typ­i­cally ap­pears as red papules over the arms, legs, but­tocks and some­times the cheeks. HOW SE­RI­OUS? Not se­ri­ous at all, some­times symp­toms are mild or even nonex­is­tent, es­pe­cially in adults. TREAT­MENT: Treat your child’s symp­toms and do what you can to keep him com­fort­able. Oral anaes­thetic gels can help ease dis­com­fort from the mouth sores, while parac­eta­mol or non-steroidal anti-in­flam­ma­to­ries will treat the fever if nec­es­sary, ad­vises Dr Sin­clair. The blis­ters usu­ally go away on their own within a week or two. This is in­fec­tious from the start of the fever un­til 10 days af­ter the rash first ap­peared.

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