Hyderabad: Children in the age group 1-5 have to be extra careful against Acute Respiratory Infections, according to a recent study conducted in Hyderabad by researchers from Gandhi and Osmania medical colleges. The study found that prevalence of ARI was 75 per cent in children in the 1-5 age group.
ARI is the reason behind frequent visits of children to hospitals and a major cause of mortality among children of this age group. The World Health Organisation says that ARI is responsible for 19 per cent of under-five mortalities in India, a majority of which are because of pneumonia.
The study led by Dr B. Kiranmai, professor of community medicine at Osmania Medical College, examined 250 children aged below five. Some 75 per cent of the children were found to be suffering from ARI, 30.8 per cent of them below one year of age.
The study found that incomplete immunisation, undernourishment and lack of proper ventilation in houses are the major factors for the development of ARI among the children.
Dr Vijayanand Jamalpuri, consultant neonatologist and paediatrician, said one way to prevent pneumonia caused by bacteria was getting children vaccinated with pneumococcal vaccine.
“Pneumococcal vaccine is usually ignored by parents thinking it is not important as it is not part of the schedule, but if they can afford it they should get their children vaccinated. It is part of the government immunisation schedule in many developed countries but not in India, one reason being that it is costly. Getting vaccinated against flu is also one way to reduce probability of respiratory infections occurring in children,” Dr Jamalpuri said.
Scheduled vaccinations like measles, pertusis or BCG must be done.
There’s no need to panic if a child gets a cold or cough. Dr Jamalpuri says that children tend to contract flu 10-12 times in a year. If the flu is not severe and if the child has no problem breathing, parents can wait for 48 hours before taking the child to a doctor.