Malta Baby & Kids Directory: Health

Welcome to our Malta Baby & Kids Health directory filled with Malta’s Chemists, Child Psychologists, Child Psychotherapists, Complementary Therapy, Dental Surgeons, First Aid & Safety, Health Clubs with Childcare Facilities, Nursing Services, Nutritionists, Occupational Therapists, Paediatricians, Paternity, Physiotherapists, Private Clinics, Public Health Centres and Speech Language Pathologists.

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CPR on babies

 

 To read this, and many other interesting articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here!

 

 

Immunisation

 

 

 To read this, and many other interesting articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here!

 

 

 

FAQ about children's teeth

 

 

 

 To read this, and many other interesting articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here!

 

 

  

The Importance of Paediatric First Aid

 

„Many of the accidents that happen at home can be avoided.

„Although we can avoid risks at home that could cause injury, sometimes this is not possible and children still injure themselves.

 „ Most injuries are minor, but it is sensible to know what to do if the accident or illness is serious. Remember that basic life saving skills could save your child’s life!

 

 

First Aid Treatment for Jelly Fish Sting

 †Remove tentacles – rinse the wound in seawater or scrape off tentacles using the edge of an ID/credit card. Avoid getting sand on the wound or using fresh water because it will activate more stingers.

†Rinse with vinegar or apply a baking soda paste – rinse the affected area with vinegar for 30 seconds. Baking soda paste may also be used. If neither of these are available, use salt water. All methods are effective in deactivating the stingers.

†Take a hot shower or apply ice packs – apply tolerably hot water (45°C) or an ice pack. Both methods may help ease pain.

†Seek medical advice – if pain or swelling persists.

 

Croup

†Croup is a condition usually suffered by children. †It is caused by an inflammation of the voice box and windpipe.

 †Attacks usually occur at night or during sleep.

†Although it can appear alarming, it is not serious and does not cause any lasting harm to the child. Signs & Symptoms of Croup:

†Difficult, distressed breathing; a loud pitched whistling noise as the child breathes; a short ‘barking’ type cough; pale, clammy skin with possible blue tinges to the lips; use of muscles in the neck and upper chest to help the child breathe.

 

First Aid Treatment for Croup

†Keep calm since panic will distress the child and make the attack worse. †Sit the child up to help their breathing and reassure them.

†Seek medical advice.

 †Call 112 if the attack is severe, does not ease, or if the child has blue tinged lips and high body temperature.

 

First Aid Treatment for Nose Bleeding

 †Sit the child down, head tipped forward.

†Nip the soft part of the nose and maintain constant pressure for 10 minutes.

†Advise the child to breathe through the mouth.

 †Give the child a disposable cloth to mop up any blood whilst the nose is nipped.

 †Advise the child not to blow the nose for a few hours.

†They must avoid picking the nose and drinking hot drinks for 24 hours.

 †If bleeding persists, take or send the child to hospital in an upright position.

†If a child is suffering from frequent nosebleeds, see the doctor. It is recommended that parents attend a Paediatric First Aid course in order to learn basic life saving skills. This puts them in a better position to assist their child should an unexpected situation arise.

 

  

 
 

 

  

 

How do I know if my child needs braces?

 

Children should usually start having regular dental checkups from the age of two. Screening for tooth and jaw abnormalities is introduced gradually as the child’s development progresses and your dentist will know if and when your child needs to be referred to an orthodontist for assessment.

 

How young is too young to start considering braces?

 Most corrective treatment for tooth abnormalities is initiated after the child has changed all baby teeth to permanent ones – around the age of 10-11. Imperfectly aligned teeth are normal as teeth are being changed, since permanent teeth are growing into a limited space in a young jaw that only catches up as the child develops. Some braces that influence jaw growth and help correct misaligned jaws may be started as early as six years of age.

 

What are the different kinds of braces?

Removable braces are simple appliances that help correct mild tooth position problems. Fixed braces in their various designs are the standard of care when more important malocclusions (tooth and jaw imperfections) are being treated. Functional appliances are usually employed to treat developmental jaw abnormalities and some habits (such as tongue thrust) at an earlier stage than other braces, and in many instances are followed by further orthodontic treatment.

 

Should braces be considered only for aesthetic reasons?

While aesthetics are the primary reason for the demand for orthodontic treatment, braces help correct or prevent many other issues, such as chewing abnormalities, speech development problems, and possible future complications related to an unbalanced bite.

 

How long will my child  be wearing braces for?

Typically, orthodontic treatment takes between 1 and 3 years, depending on the severity of the original situation.

 

Is it ever too late to consider braces?

The earlier orthodontic treatment is commenced following the establishment of permanent dentition, the shorter the duration of treatment will be. However, there is no upper limit to the age at which orthodontic treatment can be commenced.

 

 

  

 
 

 

  

 

 

Immunisation schedule

 

IMMUNISATION 

 

It is usually up to doctors and paediatricians to recommend various vaccines to their clients. It is important to note that Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio are compulsory vaccines whereas MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) and Hepatitis B are highly recommended. 


MALTESE NATIONAL IMMUNISATION SCHEDULE  

DEFINITIONS

DTaP-Hib-IPV: Diphtheria, Tetanus, acellular Pertussis, H.Influenzae type B, Polio

Hep B: Hepatitis B

MMR: Measles, Mumps, Rubella

BCG: Bacille Calmitte Guerin (Tuberculosis)

dT-IPV: adult diphtheria, Tetanus, Polio 

 

 For many more great articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here

 

Why are primary teeth so important

  

Why are primary teeth so important fo speech development? Baby teeth, or “Primary teeth” are extremely important for your child’s oral health and development. The proper positioning of primary teeth facilitates correct syllable pronunciation and prevents the tongue from straying during speech formation.  Learning to speak clearly is crucial for cognitive, social, and emotional development. 
When should I expect my baby’s first tooth and how long will it take for all the teeth to come through? 
 
The general eruption of teeth occurs:
Central incisors: 6-12 months of age
Lateral incisors: 9-16 months of age
Canine teeth: 16-23 months of age
First molars: 13-19 months of age
Second molars: 22-24 months of age
 
 
 
What are the symptoms of teething? 
 
There is some disagreement in pediatric dentistry about whether or not teething actually causes symptoms such as diarrhea or fevers.  Whatever symptoms  may or may not appear, many parents find their babies suffer discomfort.
 
Problems sleeping
Biting behavior changes
Irritability
Refusing to eat
Gum swelling and sensitivity
Drooling
Bringing hands to the mouth
Rubbing the cheek or ear region
 
Many experts believe teething is to blame for loose stools or a runny fever, but for different reasons. Excessive saliva being digested may loosen stools, or infection because the stress of teething makes your child more vulnerable.  Contact your doctor if your baby’s temperature reaches 38°C or higher.
 
 
What can i do to help ease teething discomfort ? 
 
A cool washcloth to chew on
A firm rubber teething ring
An unsweetened teething cracker
Topical pain relief gel
Rubbing your baby’s gums with a clean finger
 
 
When should I start brushing my baby’s teeth and why? Brushing should start as soon as the first tooth starts erupting. Make sure brushing teeth is part of an established routine, so they expect it to happen every morning and night. 
 
 
When should I expect my child to start changing teeth and how long should this take? This may vary – typically girls are slightly more precocious and can start changing teeth as early as 5 years of age – this process continues until around the age of 11 and 12 and usually follows the same pattern as the eruption of the baby teeth.   At around 6 years of age, the first permanent molars start making their appearance.. 
 
 

Sit-ups and crunches make this condition worse!

Many new mothers have problems with their tummies following child-birth. Although they may often make an effort to eat well and engage in some exercise in order to get back to their original, pre-pregnancy weight, their tummy just does not respond. When mothers deliver a large child or perhaps even twins, a separation of the abdominal muscle, known as diastasis recti, may occur. This can be quite disconcerting for the mother, as dieting and regular exercise will not fix this condition. Besides the negative aesthetic appearance, this condition compromises trunk and pelvic stability, bringing about an alteration in trunk mechanics and posture, which leaves the lumbar spine and pelvis more vulnerable to injury. Typical tummy exercises like crunches and sit-ups are contra-indicated and may actually worsen the condition.

However, there is hope. A targeted, specific exercise programme for the abdominal area under the guidance of a knowledgeable fitness professional can help to heal this separation and bring the abdominal muscles back together. This will result in a decreased abdominal circumference, flatter tummy and improved appearance.

The major muscle to target initially in curing the diastsis recti is the transverse abdominis, which is a ‘corset-like’ muscle that runs horizontally around the tummy area. It is activated by ‘drawing-in’ the tummy, or pulling the belly button towards the spine. Strengthening the transverse muscle helps to decrease pressure on the diastasis and puts the separated abdominal muscle in a position where it can begin to heal. 

External support garments similar to a corset are also available and may provide compression and support to the abdominal and lumbopelvic region by mimicking the tension of the transverse abdominis muscle, and may provide biofeedback for the transverse abdominis muscle to assist with its activation. 

Selecting the right kind of rehabilitation exercises in combination with a supportive eating regime can help most mothers regain their pre-pregnancy tummy.

 

For many more great articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here

 

CPR for children(Cardiopulmonary resuscitation)

A child is considered to be between one year to puberty for the purposes of these instructions. It is neither necessary nor appropriate to check if a child has reached puberty.

If you have someone with you, send them to dial 112 for an ambulance immediately.

If you are on your own carry out CPR for one minute before dialling 112 for an ambulance.

 

 

 

 

 

Attempt to give five rescue breaths

-          Ensure the airway is open

-          Seal your lips around the child’s mouth while pinching the nose.

-          Blow gently into the lungs, looking along the chest as you breathe. Take shallow breaths and do not empty your lungs completely.

-          As the chest rises, stop blowing and allow it to fall.

-          Repeat four more times then check for circulation.

 

Give 30 chest compressions

-          Place one or two hands in the centre of the chest (depending on the size of the child.

-          Use the heel of that hand with arms straight and press down to a third of the depth of the chest.

-          Press 30 times, at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute.

-          After 30 compressions, attempt to give two rescue breaths.

 

Continue resuscitation

(30 compressions to two rescue breaths) without stopping until help arrives.

 

Notes

-          If you are alone, carry out rescue breaths and chest compressions for one minute before leaving the child to call an ambulance.

-          If you are familiar with adult CPR and have no knowledge of child CPR, use the adult sequence.

-          It is possible to identify the correct hand position without removing the child's clothes.

 

Please note:These first aid tips are no substitute for thorough knowledge of first aid.

 For many more great articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here

 

Some basic first aid tips

 

Bleeding

Minor cuts, scratches and grazes

Treatment

-      Wash and dry your own hands.

-      Cover any cuts on your own hands and put on disposable gloves.

-      Clean the cut, if dirty, under running water. Pat dry with a sterile dressing or clean lint-free material. If possible, raise affected area above the heart.

-      Cover the cut temporarily while you clean the surrounding skin with soap and water and pat the surrounding skin dry. Cover the cut completely with a sterile dressing or plaster.

 

Severe bleeding

Treatment

-      Put on disposable gloves.

-      Apply direct pressure to the wound with a pad (e.g. a clean cloth) or fingers until a sterile dressing is available.

-      Raise and support the injured limb. Take particular care if you suspect a bone has been broken.

-      Lay the casualty down to treat for shock.

-      Bandage the pad or dressing firmly to control bleeding, but not so tightly that it stops the circulation to fingers or toes. If bleeding seeps through first bandage, cover with a second bandage. If bleeding continues to seep through bandage, remove it and reapply.

-      Treat for shock.

-      Dial 112 for an ambulance.

Remember: protect yourself from infection by wearing disposable gloves and covering any wounds on your hands. If blood comes through the dressing do not remove it – bandage another over the original. If blood seeps through both dressings, remove them both and replace with a fresh dressing, applying pressure over the site of bleeding.

 

Objects in wound

Where possible, swab or wash small objects out of the wound with clean water. If there is a large object embedded:

Treatment

-      Leave it in place.

-      Apply firm pressure on either side of the object.

-      Raise and support the wounded limb or part.

-      Lay the casualty down to treat for shock.

-      Gently cover the wound and object with a sterile dressing.

-      Build up padding around the object until the padding is higher than the object, then bandage over the object without pressing on it.

-      Depending on the severity of the bleeding, dial 112 for an ambulance or take the casualty to hospital.

The above are only guidelines and are in no way a substitute for a thorough knowledge of first aid.

The source of this first aid for bleeding is from St John Ambulance, Malta.

 

www.stjohnambulancemalta.com

For many more great articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here

Immunisation

MALTESE NATIONAL IMMUNISATION SCHEDULE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AGE                                VACCINE

From 6 weeks                  DTaP-Hib-IPV (5 in 1)

3 months                         DTaP-Hib-IPV (5 in 1)

4 months                         DTaP-Hib-IPV (5 in 1)

12 months                       Hep B11

13 months                       Hep B2 + MMR1

18 months                       Hep B3+ DTaP-Hib-IPV

3-4 years                         MMR2

12 years                          HPV1*

12 years + 1 month        HPV2*

12 years + 6 months      HPV3*

14 - 16 years                  dT-IPV

 

*For girls born from the year 2000 onwards.

 For many more great articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here

Supporting your child’s emotional growth

As a parent the first and most important aspect of your child’s emotional and psychological growth is the internal journey of self-awareness you embark on yourself.  The more emotionally literate you are as a parent the more you are capable of offering your child an emotionally stable environment. This is a journey and a very exciting one.  If in the past you have had limited interest in your own emotional and psychological development, now is the time to start your journey. Parent your child with self-awareness and knowledge. This article is designed to give you a glimpse of what may work for you and your child in the first three years, the most crucial years of development. It will highlight some essential tips which can support your parenting skills and the development of your child within the emotional and psychological realm.

Prenatal phase 

Make this time a relaxed and happy time for yourself and your unborn baby.

Talk to your friends and family about your experience as an expectant mother.

Talk to those who really want to hear about your experience.

Listen to music which is elevating and calming and makes you “feel good”.

Touch your baby frequently, talk to your baby and sing to it. Although your baby is still unborn he or she still has sensations.

Come up with a pet name or a real name (if you know the baby’s sex) for your baby so you can start referring to him or her with that name rather than using “it”. Or simply say “baby”. 

Tell your baby that he or she is a wanted and loved child (even when circumstances are unfavourable). Even children given up for adoption are often loved deeply by someone other than their biological parent.  

The prenatal phase is often a more intensive period for a mother than it is for a father because of the physical changes taking place. Speak to your partner about these changes and if your partner is absent or unavailable share this information with someone who you know will be excited to hear it.

Birth – one year  

Your baby is born. Seek as much support as you can whether this is paid or voluntary. At this point mixed feelings towards parenting are common so make sure you get the help you can in order to be well for your child.

Ritualize the birth of your baby. Welcome your baby with phrases such as “Welcome to Earth”, “You are a wanted and loved baby”, “We are happy to have you”. This will set the pattern for the relationship between you and your child.  Although your child may not be using words at this stage, he or she is still taking in your gestures, non verbal expressions, tone of voice and other emotions present in his environment.

Hold, touch, cuddle, cradle, have eye to eye contact and spoil your baby as much as you can. There is no such thing as spoiling a child under the age of 12 months.

Sing to your baby. Sing songs which connect you positively to your baby and which you enjoy singing. They can be anything from nursery songs to pop music to film music.

Be around for your child.  Job opportunities demanding long hours out of the house can wait but your child’s development cannot wait.  

One to Two years

Your child is more verbal now so you may feel more inclined to use words yourself. Make it a rule in your family that words used are gentle, kind, respectful, considerate and clear.  

At this stage the need to discipline starts to emerge. Take time to learn how to use discipline effectively rather than simply trying to not do what your parents did to you. Look for books, internet sites and audio visual material that can support you in disciplining effectively.

Avoid advice from well meaning friends and relatives. You will have to find your own respectful style of integrating discipline in your family life.

Firm but kind and Love and Logic are in, Do as I say and For your own good are out.

Praise your child for their achievements (scribbling, saying a new word).

Appreciate your child’s physical qualities and be specific when doing so (“I love the way your little toe curls in this way”).

Avoid discussing your child in his or her presence and try to avoid the subject when other adults say “Is he/she a naughty boy/girl?” This is labelling and unnecessary to one’s growth.

Name calling and swiping statements can be avoided altogether. Make it a rule to always be positive towards your child. Start sentences with that’s … rather than you are … in order to form a habit of always talking about behaviour and action and not about the person.

Two to three years

Keep the pattern of speaking positively to your child, using a regular tone of voice, plenty of smiles and lots of reasoning and bargaining.  

Avoid shouting and spanking altogether.

Touch your child’s body only when expressing love or for safety and never in anger. The way you treat your child’s body is the way he or she will treat it as an adult. If you have difficulty controlling yourself and find yourself hitting your child seek professional help.

Keep reading books and consulting professionals when things seem to puzzle you.

Seek support of other mothers. Go out with them to gardens, parks, play areas and chat about how you feel. 

Take breaks by meeting friends for a walk or a coffee while someone else takes care of your child.

At this stage it is important to demonstrate to your child that you know how to take care of yourself so leave him with someone he or she likes to be with and tell your child that you are going out for a short while to have fun with some friends.  Avoid doing housework while your child is cared for by someone else.

If possible do something for yourself once a day. This can be a walk, a coffee, a film or anything else that makes you feel good.  

A happy parent makes a happy child and so it is important that you regard your happiness as a top priority. Even when you are invaded with anxious and negative thoughts start telling yourself positive things that work for you. 

Speak to your child about interesting and wonderful things in the world, remembering that this is the start of his or her journey.

Avoid exposing your child to excessive TV viewing, video games, news and other such stuff.

In the presence of your child avoid discussing tragic events that happened to neighbours or other people as your child is not intellectually prepared for this and will misinterpret it. Missing children, house theft, dying parents and the like are what children’s nightmares consist of – they are best left in the realm of dreams and not brought into reality. Gently stop people from talking about such things in the presence of children by non-verbally signalling to them that the child is around.  

 
 
 
 

Words, Words, Words, nutrition for your child’s mind! 

Mary Poppins!
Recall to your mind the movie, Mary Poppins where the eponymous nanny sings: 'Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious!' Mary Poppins rather enjoyed and knew the power of nutritional words and phrases for her young charges and dished them out with spoonfuls of glee and joy. When you speak to your child, you are offering to them suggestions and ideas and labels, which can be either helpful or limiting. Telling a child "You’re useless!" may sink in as a 'life sentence' that your child could retain for the greater part of her life ? until she finds the key to releasing them in therapy or personal growth. You can avoid that long recovery by freeing yourself from the unconscious tyranny of words, and in so doing freeing your child by choosing words and phrases that garland and celebrate that young life.
 
Grown-up opinions and their legacy 
As youngsters we are much more vulnerable to grown-ups' opin¬ions. From those opinions we derive both pleasure and pain. A young child is especially vulnerable to the effects of labels that others dish out. "You're thick.  You're stupid.  You're no child of mine." Often repeated, these labels embed them¬selves in the subconscious mind.  You are what you devour! This is true of your personality as well as your body.  Incoming words become absorbed either for the benefit of your child's developing personality or in denial of the bright spirit within your child that longs to shine.
 
Your child devours the words you serve up
In their formative years children are under pressure to accept what they are given.  Children are told to eat up all the food on their plates ? to 'eat their greens'.  Children can devour and absorb words even more voraciously than dinner.  Children eat what¬ever is given to them ? whether it is a good apple or a poison-ed apple ? especially when served up by loved ones or pro¬tectors. Likewise, they accept trustingly the verbal expressions that are given to them to digest and absorb.
 
When words are good they are very good, and when they are bad they are horrid.
Children do not have the faculty for dis¬cerning which words to absorb and which to reject. They lack the life-experience to know what is an appropriate diet for their minds. Their ability in this respect is limited both by a lack of understanding and by an unconditional love that leads them to trust whatever grown-ups tell them. When dis¬eased fruits land on her plate the child may blame herself for the bad taste and sickness rather than the person who gave her those fruits. Un¬able to separate the pea from the pod in her mind she may not be able to formulate a clear idea of the external source of her un¬happiness.  
 
Repeat and repeat nutritious words and phrases to your child
A frequently repeated ill-intentioned word can become a label that we wear as a hand-me-down wound. When words are good, their effect can be very beneficial, and when they are bad they can be very, very bad. We ingest and digest them ? as told to do so by parents and siblings at home, teachers and others at school ? but discover later that some of them worked to hold back our growing minds and to deny the potential to be who we truly are.  
 
Support your child's verbal heaven
The brightest spark in the heavens would need phen¬omenal strength, self-belief and determination in order to tran¬scend continual put-downs and critical hand-me-down labels. In fact, your child may gener¬ally muddle through, and other children to a lesser or greater degree. Your child may have the strength, may have the seeds of self-belief, and the determination. But there are many bright sparks out there who continually strive to transcend their received labels as children and who endeavour to correct their initial social programming each day ? to work towards recognising the truth about themselves. For example, my client Maria as a young girl grew up believ¬ing she was a bad person because she had internalised adverse suggestions about being left-handed.
 
Always indulge your child with positive suggestions
Most often children are subjected to quite arbitrary patterns of suggestion which arise out of the past history of the suggesters be they parents or other family members, or teachers. Sometimes the patterns are purely verbal, sometimes they are backed up with coercion. My client Steven grew up believing himself to be 'crap' because of a father whose temper was on a hair-trigger and who beat him up for the least infringement of his rules.  
 
Celebrate the magical child
Bearing in mind how potent your words can be in a child's ear, dream up gorgeous and growth-allowing suggestions for your child that honour the best and the brightest of them. It helps your child whenever you encourage her to choose words that express opinions of herself that are kind and honouring ? and likewise encourage her to let go of labels and opinions of herself that do not serve her. 
 
Be selective about what your child watches on television and other media
The most common reason for viewers to watch any given television show or advert is that it follows whatever was on previously. Traumatic scenes in television and film enter through the undiscriminating eye of your child. Scenes and images go directly to your young child’s subconscious mind. There they lodge, and not necessarily for her advantageous benefit. This diet for the mind can be thought of as being 'toxic' and can ultimately be more devastating than junk food. The latter can be rejected by the body, but television's diet for the mind can lie in the pit of the mind ? festering and waiting to be regurgitated in an inappropriate emotional or physical way.  
 
Be on your guard with respect to the influences in society
Be aware of enticing influences in supermarkets and fast food restaurants!
Suggestions within supermarkets, fast food restaurants, and society at large, are able to influence your child beyond your control. Guard their senses and maintain  attention to what is coming in ? be it from corporations, television, the internet or a computer screen.
 
Do your best to ensure your child's vocabulary is packed full of verbal vitamins!
Be watchful and ensure the verbal diet your child receives from you and other sources, is in all ways nutritious, and strengthening of the values, and the qualities that empower their humanity and positive growth.   
 
Deborah Marshall-Warren is a gifted Hypnotherapist, and Trainer. She is a passionate speaker on the subject of vocabulary as the most nutritional diet for the mind and the importance of 'eating healthy words' with respect to your child, and yourself.  She is in private practice working with children and the 'inner children' of adults for the past 16 years.  Contact her at:  appointments@marshall-warren.com
 
Be aware of how your words can be misunderstood
Be aware that your words may live on for years
Give your child phrases that build her self-esteem
Guard your child's exposure to potentially toxic language
Teach your child which words to devour and which to leave aside
 
 

Gastrointestinal Problems in Children and Adolescents

 
By Dr. Thomas M. Attard M.D. FAAP FACG
Consultant Pediatrician - Gastroenterology  
 
 
Colic is a common problem in normal infants in the first few months of life and is marked by periodic excessive fussiness in an otherwise well infant. Most infants with colic feed and grow well and it is unusual for colic to last longer than the first five months of life. Several conditions that require specific treatment may be mistaken for colic and therefore severe cases or patients with atypical symptoms can be referred for evaluation.
 
Gastroesophageal Reflux (GORD) Spitting up immediately after feeds is common in normal infants especially in the first few months; these infants are typically growing well and the spit-ups cause them minimal or no upset (‘happy spitter’). Some specialized formulas improve the symptoms associated with GORD in infants, but some patients with more severe symptoms or unusual patterns of vomiting may have other problems that require specialist evaluation and care.
 
Allergic Enterocolitis.  Some infants with spittiness and excessive fussiness, in fact have an allergic reaction in their intestines that provokes pain, changes in their stools – including blood or mucus and sometimes exacerbates GORD. These children would benefit from changes in their diet including changes to the mother’s diet if breast fed, or change to a hypoallergenic formula if already formula-fed. The impact of an allergy to food on a child’s development may include the risk of eczema and the later development of asthma. 
 
Chronic diarrhoea Some toddlers develop diarrhoea as part of their normal development and as a result of their evolving diet that may include excessive sugars. Longstanding diarrhoea may however be a symptom of various diseases including celiac early on, food allergy and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) later on. Blood in the stool, even if not with diarrhoea always requires assessment and in most cases specialist assessment and care. 
 
Obesity Problems associated with being overweight are the fastest growing category of diseases in modern countries including in children. The onset of adult obesity usually rests with behaviour patterns in childhood. It is important that overweight children are assessed and appropriately counselled on their long term management by a specialist in liaison with a dietician; adult weight loss regimens should not be applied to children without the input of the medical team. Obese children need to be checked for, amongst others, liver injury from fat that is becoming one of the most common liver diseases in modern society. 
 
 
Dr Thomas M. Attard is a paediatrician who has further specialized in the care of children and adolescents with the various gastrointestinal illnesses or gastrointestinal complications of other disorders such as neurologic disabilities. 
 
 

Medicine Cabinet Essentials

People go to medicine cabinets to find relief. Medicines, on the other hand, go to medicine cabinets to die a slow and undignified death. We all tend to forget to regularly check the contents of our medicine chest for expiry dates and completeness.
 
Is it time to give your medical supplies a checkup? Apart from your prescriptions, all you need are the tools to treat minor cuts and burns, headaches, fevers, coughs, itching, allergies, or a runny nose. The key word here is minor.
 
For Pain, Headaches, Fever
Paracetamol:  this should be your stock pain killer and fever reducing agent. It is safe in the right doses and comes as tablets, syrup or suppositories. 
Non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s): these are effective painkillers. Children formulations are also available as syrups or suppositories.They can be very effective to relieve the pain of a sore tooth or ear.
Medicine for coughs and colds
Decongestants:These come in tablet and syrup forms, as well as nasal sprays.
 
Cough medicine: For a dry, hacking cough, look for one that contains the cough suppressant dextromethorphan or similar. If the cough is producing mucus, use something with carbocisteine, an expectorant, to loosen secretions.
 
For Digestive Problems
Antacid tablets or syrup relieve heartburn, which occurs when stomach acid backs up and irritates the esophagus. 
Anti emetic medication in tablet, syrup or suppository form can be handy in the event of nausea and vomiting. Withholding solids and sticking to liquids helps.
Oral rehydration powder sachets: keep a good boxful of these to deal with vomiting and diarrhea.
For Itchy Rashes, Insect Bites, Allergiesand Other Skin Problems
Calamine lotion: This old-fashioned pink liquid soothes itching from rashes and bites and dries up weepy rashes.
Antihistamine cream: Use one to relieve intense itching. Or try one that combines calamine and an antihistamine.
Antihistamines: Diphenhydramine and chlorpheniramine both work to relieve sneezing and a runny nose, but each causes sleepiness. Loratadine is nonsedating. They are useful for allergic, itchy rashes too.
 
For Cuts and Burns
Bandages and gauze pads: A box of adhesive strips in assorted sizes and a box of gauze pads (the large size, 10x10cm, which can be cut down) will be adequate to dress most cuts, scrapes, and burns.
 
Medical tape: This will hold gauze in place. 
Proprietary creams for burns are available.Also useful for sunburn.
 
Tools
Thermometer: The electronic kind is usually accurate and sturdy, and a good choice for those who are wary of the mercury in traditional thermometers. For babies, rectal thermometers are most accurate.
Magnifying glass and tweezers: To remove splinters.
Pill cutter: Comes in handy if you need to cut a dose in half.
Small phials of sterile saline are useful to wash cuts, grazes and burns before a clean dressing is applied. Sterile saline can be used to wash out a foreign body or liquid in the eye.
 
Some medication needs to be kept at a low temperature and so the fridge may be a better place to store such items. A child proof lock is essential where young kids are around; fixing the medicine cabinet out of reach also helps avoid prying little fingers.
 
Dr Alex Portelli MD
 
 
 

The Importance of Paediatric First Aid

Many of the accidents that happen at home can be avoided.
Although we can avoid risks at home that could cause injury, sometimes this is not possible and children still injure themselves.
Most injuries are minor, but it is sensible to konw what to do if the accident or illness is serious.
Remember that basic life saving skills could save you child's life!
First Aid Treatment for Jelly Fish Sting

Remove tentacles - rinse the ound in seawater or scrape off tentacles using the edge of an ID/credit card. Avoid getting sand on the wound or using fresh water because it will activate more stingers.

Rinse with vinegar or apply a baking soda paste - rinse the affected area with vinegar for 30 seconds. Baking soda paste may also be used. If neither of these are available, use salt water.
All methods are effective in deactivating the stingers.

Take a hot shower or apply ice packs - apply tolerably hot water (45°C) or an ice pack. Both methods may help ease pain.

Seek medical advice - if pain or swelling persists.

 

Croup

Crup is a condition usually suffered by chidren.
It is caused by an inflammation of the voice box and windpipe.
Attacks usually occur at night or during sleep.
Although it can appear alarming, it is not serious and does not cause any lasting harm to the child.


Signs & Symptoms of Croup : 


Difficult, distressed breathing; a loud pitched whistling noise as the child breathes; a short 'barking' type cough;pale, clammy skin with possible blue tinges to the lips; use of muscles in the neck
and upper chest to help the child breathe.

First Aid Treatment for Group

Keep calm since panic will distress the child and make the attack worse.
Sit the child up to help their breathing and reassure them.
Seek medical advice.
Call 112 if the attack is severe, does not ease, or if the child has blue tinged lips and high body temperature.

First Aid Treatment for Nose Bleeding

Sit the child down, head tripped forwards.
Nip the soft part of the nose and maintain constant pressure for 10 minutes.
Advise the child to breathe through the mouth.
Give the child a disposable cloth to mop up any blood whilst the nose is nipped.
Advise the child not to blow the nose for a few hours.
They must avoid picking the nose and drinking hot drinks for 24 hours.
If bleeding persists, take or send the child to hispital in an upright position.
If a child is sufering from frequent nosebleeds, see the doctor.

It is recommended that parents attend a Paediatric First Aid course in order to learn basic life saving skills. This puts them in a better position to assist their child should an unexpected situation arise.
 

How do I know if my child needs braces?

Children should usually start having regular dental check-ups from the age of two. Screening for tooth and jaw abnormalities is introduced gradually as the child’s development
progresses and your dentist will know if and when your child needs to be referred to an orthodontist for assessment.

How young is too young to start considering braces?

Most corrective treatment for tooth abnormalities is initiated after the child has changed all baby teeth to permanent ones around the age of 10-11. Imperfectly aligned teeth are normal as teeth are being changed, since permanent teeth are growing into a limited space in a young jaw that only catches up as the child develops. Some braces that influence jaw growth and help correct misaligned jaws may be started as early as six years of age.

What are the different kinds of braces?

Removable braces are simple appliances that help correct mild tooth position problems. Fixed braces in their various designs are the standard of care when more important malocclusions (tooth and jaw imperfections) are being treated. Functional appliances are usually employed to treat developmental jaw abnormalities and some habits (such as tongue thrust) at an earlier stage than other braces, and in many instance are followed by further orthodontic treatment.

Should braces be considered only for aesthetic reasons?

While aesthetics are the primary reason for the demand for orthodontic treatment, braces help correct or prevent many other issues, such as chewing abnormalities, speech development problems, and possible future complications related to an unbalanced bite.

How long will my child be wearing braces for? Typically, orthodontic treatment takes between 1 and 3 years, depending on the severity of the original situation.

Is it ever too late to consider braces?

The earlier orthodontic treatment is commenced following the establishment of permanent dentition, the shorter the duration of treatment will be. However, there is no upper limit to the age at which orthodontic treatment can be commenced.

 
 

 


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Malta Baby & Kids Directory is created by mums for mums and childcarers.
Lisa Grech is the founder of the Malta Baby & Kids Directory and website. Together with Denise Briffa and Crysta Darmanin we combine work on the publication and website while bringing up lots of children (seven between us!).


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