In the past, medicine and doctor meant that the doctor prescribed the medicine to the patient and left. It was a relationship which was essentially a one-man street. The patient was given the chance to say a few words at first, but it was the doctor who took the decisions. The exchange was simple and quick, but not informative. Real information was kept guarded; only confined to the medical professionals.
However, this sort of relationship could not persist between the doctor and the child for long. The doctor has to know what is going on inside the child and this information is needed by the parents too. The exchange between the doctor and the child is now a two-way traffic with the doctor acting as a guide and mentor. With the spurt in information and new knowledge developing every day, it is not possible for a doctor to know everything, so it is necessary for him to interact with parents who may be able to offer new ideas and perspectives. An exceptional parent teaches doctors about his or her main concern, while keeping a sensitive eye out for the uncommon things that need to be addressed urgently.
This book teaches parents the essential facts about behavioural and medicinal issues that confront families from birth through the preschool years. It reviews the most common problems, including preventing and treating ordinary infection; evaluating and alleviating symptoms like fever, cough and ear pain; controlling allergies and asthma; and teaching children to behave. Sleeping and eating skills do no come automatically and so understanding of these abilities can help parents overcome their struggle and confrontations with their children at mealtimes and bedtime. Parents of newborns can learn about dealing with colic and gas in a way that does not require medication but help the babies and parents develop better relationships together.
Though no book can replace a paediatrician, it can certainly provide important facts and inside information about common problems among children. The best-informed parents are best at taking care of their kids and this book helps to get every parent started.
The first chapter stresses that it is necessary to prevent the transmission of infection for which hands should be kept absolutely clean. Treatment of infection is done through antibiotics but their indiscriminate use helps the bacteria to develop resistance and resistance among one bacterial type can spread to others. This chapter explains when an antibiotic is necessary, how to give which antibiotic in what amounts and in which particular ailment. Though some antibiotics are better than others for an individual, no antibiotic is ?stronger? than any other for every infection.
The next chapter focuses on fever in an otherwise healthy child between the age-group of three months to school age. A baby aged less than three months can develop fever for which the paediatrician needs to be consulted because the baby may become seriously ill due to infection or lack of immunity.
A sore throat calls for a Strep Test to check for Streptococcus pyogenes which is treated with antibiotics. But since most throat infections are viral, it is best to consult a doctor, especially if the fever crosses 102 degrees Fahrenheit.
Written by a Clinical Assistant Professor of Paediatrics at Emory University, this book also provides practical information on how to choose a paediatrician, how to get the most out of every visit to the paediatrician and how to handle common medical and behavioural problems of children in this particular age group.
(Macmillan India Ltd, 2/10, Ansari Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi-110 002.)