International Infection Prevention Week

By Dr. Riham Ammar, Specialist Pediatrician

International Infection Prevention Week takes place October 17-23, 2021. Because infection prevention is more important than ever in the battle against a global pandemic, we want to emphasize the role that individuals can play in the health and safety of their community.

Points to help in infection prevention in pediatrics:

Breastfeeding is vital to children’s health and development in infancy and later in life. Breast milk contains antibodies that fight infection and are present in high amounts in colostrum – the first milk that comes out of the breasts after birth. There are antibodies in breastmilk the entire time she continues to nurse. Breast milk can literally give babies a head start in fighting infections.

It is also rich in  proteins, good fats, Lactose (sugar of milk), prebiotics and probiotics  that work directly within the intestine before being absorbed and reaching the entire body. This sets the stage for a protective and balanced immune system that helps recognize and fight infections and other diseases even after breastfeeding ends.

Nutrition is a key factor contributing to immune fitness. Early life presents an opportunity to influence the development of immune system. Nutrition positively influences gut microbiota composition and the development of a healthy immune system, which in turn improves and optimises future health. It is beneficial in terms of supporting the healthy growth of an individual but also over the long term by preventing and managing disease. In fact, studies show that allergies may be prevented by making the right nutritional choices during the first 1000 days of life.

Vaccines are clever, they train our bodies into building immunity against infectious diseases, without causing the illness. Usually, a weakened version of bacteria or virus is introduced to our immune system. Once vaccinated, if our immune system encounters the ‘real’ germ, it responds quickly, creating antibodies and memory cells to protect the body.

Our immune system stores information about every germ ever defeated, so if we encounter the real germ in the future, it can quickly trigger memory cells and produce antibodies.

Immunisation is the most effective way to  prevent serious diseases. It greatly reduces the risk of catching a disease, which further reduces the risk of complications.

Children have a relatively low state of immunity, as they haven’t previously been exposed to many specific germs.Personal hygiene helps protect our immune system from being overcome by harmful germs. Bacteria and viruses can spread through touch or air particles. Teaching children the importance of personal hygiene can help reduce disease.

One of the most important hygiene habits children need to learn is hand-washing, which reduces the risk of getting ill. Other self-help and self-care skills, like regularly showering or brushing teeth, can also limit cross-infection.

Better hygiene leads to better health and overall growth.

Sleep provides essential support to the immune system. Getting sufficient hours of high-quality sleep enables a well-balanced immune defense that features strong innate and adaptive immunity.

It also helps in maintaining a proper growth and development of children because Growth Hormone is secreted during night sleep and this in turn strengthen the immune system to fight against infections.

In contrast, serious sleeping problems, including sleep disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea, and circadian rhythm disruption, can interfere with the healthy functioning of the immune system. Children need a minimum of eight hours sleep every night for improved health and well-being.

Book your Pediatric Consultation with Dr. Riham now, call 044529998.

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