Monday March 27, 2023

Children still at risk of contracting RTIs

March 19, 2023

Rawalpindi : The child population particularly infants in this region of the country is still at risk of contracting respiratory tract infections mainly because of a great variation in temperature.

It is important that both the public and private sector healthcare facilities are already receiving a significant influx of child patients suffering from upper and lower respiratory tract infections. Data collected by ‘The News’ has revealed that around 30 to 40 per cent of the total child patients being presented at the paediatrics departments at Benazir Bhutto Hospital and Holy Family Hospital are either with lower RTIs including pneumonia or with upper RTIs involving colds, flu or sore throat.

The incidences of RTIs among children and infants are still high and according to health experts can be controlled if parents take preventive measures in time. A significant number of child patients suffering from allergy and asthmatic problems is also being reported at the allied hospitals in town.

On average, the paediatrics departments at the BBH and HFH are receiving well over 600 child patients per day of which around 200 are with complaints of upper or lower RTIs. The cases of sore throat and cough are much higher among children.

Health experts say that the incidences of RTIs among children and infants can be avoided by following simple precautionary measures by parents. Parents should be made aware of the fact that by keeping the environment of rooms clean, children and infants can be safeguarded to a significant extent from pneumonia and other RTIs. The rooms in which children and infants are kept should have proper ventilation systems and should be in access to sunlight. Experts say that infants below six weeks of age must be administered the pneumococcal vaccine that is available at the allied hospitals under Expanded Programme on Immunization. The vaccine provides major cover against pneumonia. It is important that three doses of pneumococcal vaccine are administered to infants at the age of six weeks, 10 weeks and 14 weeks.

Experts say that parents must provide protection to their children and infants against allergic agents. Infants who are breastfed have the least chance of getting RTIs. By giving a healthy diet containing fresh fruits, milk, egg and meat products, children can be safeguarded from a number of infections because malnourished children are at greater risk of contracting ailments.