Articles on upper respiratory tract infection

Colds and Coughs in Children

Dr. Murali Gopal, Pulmonologist
This is one of the most common issues in kids of preschool age. Almost all toddlers would have had at least one episode of common cold (runny nose) and cough before they turn 2. It is commonly caused by viruses and mostly seen in winter months or during weather changes.  These viral infections are self limiting illness, where the child will get better by two weeks from onset of symptoms.It is usual to have fever when kids develop these respiratory tract infections. Some children especially preschool children can develop wheezing following viral upper respiratory tract infections. These can repeat with further infections. Most of these preschool wheezers out grow their symptoms by the time they reach 6-8 years of age. Some of them may require inhaler therapy during episodes. Few children with allergic symptoms may develop asthma as they get older. There is advancement of inhaler therapy over the last few years both for children and adults. There is misconception that inhalers are ‘addictive’. It is best way to give the medicine directly into the lungs as it is breathed in to where it is needed and it reduces the chance of side effect from oral medicines given for wheezing. These medications when given by mouth as syrup or tablets can cause undesired side effects compared to inhalers.Cough is a worrying symptom for most parents. Cough is a natural, protective reflex we have to expel the irritant,phlegm in the breathing tubes and lungs. Cough lasting for more than 3 weeks needs attention especially if it sounds moist. Cough medications may reduce the cough and makes the secretions thicker making it harder to cough up. Some cough medicines available in the market can lead to serious side effects and some are not licensed to be used in children. When do we worry about child’s respiratory symptoms? Cough in newborn baby and unvaccinated babies in the first 4 months of age.Child has persistent cough for more than 3 weeks which sounds moist.Sudden onset of cough following choking and breathing difficulties.Child has breathing difficulty like breathing faster, working hard to breath.Coughing up greenish sputum or blood.Do not self medicate children as their symptoms may vary with episodes. Always consult your child’s doctor before giving medicine to your child, even if medicines are prescribed for similar symptoms in the past.

Cough ,Cold and Ear Infection in Children

Dr. Vipul Mehrotra, Pediatrician
Because their immune systems are still developing, children are especially vulnerable to viruses and bacteria, and they tend to get sick more than grown ups. Most of the time, all kids need is a little symptom relief and comfort. Here's how you can help yours recover faster from colds, coughs, and earaches, plus how to tell when sickness indicates something more serious.Treating coldsBabies and kids typically get six to eight colds a year -- just think of all the stuff they're constantly sticking into their mouths and it's easy to understand why. The good news: These infections actually help strengthen their immune systems down the line. Meanwhile, to help her feel better:Saline drops in the nose can reduce congestion (follow package directions for dosage). This is especially helpful for babies too young to blow their noses. Put a cool-mist vaporizer in her bedroom -- moist air helps alleviate congestion.Give infant acetaminophen (babies older than 3 months only) to ease her discomfort. For babies 3 months or younger, don't give any medication without talking to your doctor first (it can mask a fever, which requires immediate medical attention in infants; for more info, see "Fevers", below).Call the doctor if-You suspect the flu in an infant younger than 3 months, go to the doctor right away (symptoms of flu include fever, fatigue, and listlessness); from 3 to 6 months of age, it's less urgent, so call your pediatrician and ask what the best course of action is. (Remember, symptoms of flu come on suddenly -- as opposed to cold symptoms, which come on gradually -- and they're more intense.) Your child shows symptoms of sinus inflammation or sinusitis (a bacterial infection of the facial cavities), both of which may cause a wet or phlegmy cough, bad breath, and thick yellow or green mucus. Sinusitis may also bring on a headache and fever. If your doctor diagnoses an infection, he'll likely prescribe antibiotics.Soothing coughs.A cough often develops with a cold, and can be persistent. There's usually nothing to worry about, and the best thing to do is let it run its course. To make your child more comfortable-Offer liquids to lubricate an irritated, cough-prone throat. For babies, nurse or bottle-feed more frequently. For children, give water, warm tea, or diluted juice (semi-frozen if you want, for its soothing chill).At bedtime, elevate your child's head with a wedge underneath his mattress. Always ask a pediatrician before giving a child under 3 years of age an over-the-counter cough preparation or decongestant. For all kids, avoid any medication that contains phenylpropanolamine, which may trigger seizures and increase the risk of stroke.Call the doctor if-Your child has a severe cough and a fever of more than 101 degrees Fahrenheit that lasts more than a day; you'll need to have your pediatrician rule out strep. (A rectal temperature is the most accurate reading.) Your child is wheezing and coughing to the point that he's having trouble breathing -- or he shows a loss of appetite and unusual lethargy. This could signal a more serious infection such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which can lead to bronchiolitis, an inflammation of the small tubes of the lungs. Bronchiolitis can be life-threatening in some babies under 6 months, and in preemies up to 1 year.Your child has a hacking, barking cough -- usually at night -- which means he probably has croup, an infection of the larynx (the voice box). Call the doctor no matter the hour; he'll probably advise you to elevate your child's head and go out into the cool night air with him. If your child is struggling for breath, go to the emergency room. He likely will be given an injection of steroids -- a standard treatment that's safe in kids as young as 3 months -- and perhaps a nebulizer with medication to help open his airways.Your child's cough persists for a week or two and then worsens, with severe and prolonged coughing jags punctuated by gags and gasps and, occasionally, vomiting. This could be pertussis (a.k.a. whooping cough). In spite of its name, babies under 1 rarely "whoop." Nor do adults (kids do). Your doctor will probably prescribe antibiotics.Babies are especially vulnerable until they get the third of four diphtheria- tetanus-pertussis (DtP) vaccinations, usually at 6 months. Those under 3 months are at increased risk for pertussis-related apnea, in which they stop breathing altogether and need emergency help. The best prevention: Stay on schedule with baby shots and remain vigilant for signs of pertussis until full protection kicks in around 6 months. When kids hit 11 or 12, they'll need a booster shot.FeversA fever indicates that the body is working to fight an infection, and is usually not a cause for concern. How your child is behaving is actually a better way to tell how ill she is. If your baby has a fever but plays normally (rather than being listless and fussy), there's probably nothing to worry about. Same goes for toddlers and older kids. As long as your child acts like she normally does, all you need to do is comfort her by:Making sure she gets plenty of rest. Giving her lots of fluids. Infants and toddlers may be given a commercial rehydrating solution, such as Pedialyte or Rehydralyte. Sponging her with tepid water or placing her in a bath of lukewarm water. Giving her acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce her discomfort, as long as the doctor says it's okay. (Children under 18 should never be given aspirin; it's been linked to Reye's syndrome, a serious disease that affects the brain and liver.)Call the doctor if-An infant 3 months or younger has a temperature over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, even if she shows no other signs of illness. (Always use a rectal thermometer for babies this age since it provides the most accurate reading.) And be ready for a trip to the emergency room to rule out a serious infection -- in the early weeks of life, babies have a limited ability to fight illness because their immune systems are not fully developed.Your 3- to 6-month-old has a temperature of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, as children this age have a greater (though still small) risk of a serious bacterial infection than older kids do. An older child's temperature hasn't improved in three days or reaches 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. A feverish child of any age develops other symptoms -- a rash, an earache, swollen glands, or trouble breathing. The pediatrician will want to make sure your child doesn't have a serious illness, such as pneumonia or meningitis. Your child suffers a febrile convulsion. These seizures are scary but not uncommon, and happen most often in babies between 6 months and 2 years. Have the doctor check your child the first time this happens to make sure it hasn't been caused by an underlying condition. Kids prone to febrile convulsions usually outgrow them by age 6 with no long-term effects.Ear infectionsBy age 3, 70 percent of children have had at least one ear infection. The vast majority occur when fluid accumulates in the middle ear and becomes infected (usually a bacterial infection), causing pain, swelling, and redness. If your baby seems uncomfortable and begins pulling on his ears, you may have an ear infection on your hands.About 80 percent of the time, the infection will clear up on its own in a few days, so you may not need an antibiotic. New evidence shows that antibiotics simply don't help most kids that much -- they end pain at best half a day sooner than if left untreated. Many experts think it's best to wait on antibiotics and manage the discomfort by:Giving your child acetaminophen or pain-numbing drops (which your doctor can prescribe) Applying mild heat to the ear-try a warm, moist washcloth.Call the doctor if-You suspect an ear infection and your child is 2 or younger. Your older child has mild pain in his ears for more than 24 hours; is in great pain; is running a temperature of 102 degrees Fahrenheit or higher; or younotice pus coming out of his ears, or the glands in his neck seem swollen.Your child gets one ear infection after another. If this is the case, talk to your pediatrician about whether ear tubes are a good option. These tubes are implanted surgically, and are designed to allow bacteria-friendly fluids to drain from the ear. Tube implantation should be a last resort, but chronic ear infections shouldn't be ignored since they can affect a young child's hearing and delay speech.Preventing ear infections-To lower your child's odds of getting an ear infection:Breastfeed. This is associated with a lower risk of ear infections.Feed upright. In young children, the ear's Eustachian tube goes in a straight line from the mouth to the nose to the ear, so when a child lies flat, formula or milk may drain through the tube into the middle ear and provide a meal for bacteria.Limit pacifiers. A study found that babies who didn't use pacifiers had one- third fewer middle ear infections. If your baby loves his, try giving it only at naptime and bedtime.Stop sniffles. Ear infections often follow colds, so cold-prevention tips matter: Remind kids to wash hands with soap and water after they cough or sneeze, and before meals.Don't smoke. Kids who are exposed to secondhand smoke get more ear infections; it irritates mucous membranes and damages tiny hairs in the middle ear.Stay up-to-date with vaccines. The pneumococcal vaccine, Prevnar (recommended for all healthy children under 2), mainly prevents bacterial meningitis, but also guards against seven strains of ear infection-causing bacteria. (Babies typically get four shots, between 2 and 15 months.)SummaryYour child is bound to get her share of coughs, colds, and earaches when she's little. They'll become less frequent as her immune system strengthens. Meanwhile, be watchful of symptoms and give her plenty of TLC.

5 Priceless Benefits of Salt Therapy for All Your Respiratory Troubles!

Mrs. Anju Chandna, Yoga and Naturopathy
Salt therapy is fast catching everyone’s attention. A therapy that was born within the confines of natural salt caves in the Eastern European countries like Poland and Romania around 150 years ago is now on its way to become one of the most revolutionary treatments of all time for all respiratory allergies like Asthma, Bronchitis,Sinusitis, Allergic cough, Dry cough, COPD and many others. A lot can be attributed to the fact that the treatment is natural.So let me give you a 5 point count as to what makes this therapy different from the conventional methods of treatment that we’ve known all these years. Salt therapy is a 100% natural treatment. The main ingredient that does all the trick is salt. The salt room has around 3-4 tons of salt on the walls, the ceiling, the floor and the aerosol that you inhale while sitting inside this artificial salt cave is also pharma-grade salt. Old age wisdom says that consuming too much salt is not good for our body but what needs to be understood is that this salt does not enter your digestive tract. So any side effect could arise of consuming salt directly is absent here. This salt aerosol enters only the respiratory tract through the nasal passage and goes directly into your lungs. It cleanses the mucous along its way and reaches the smallest bronchioles of the lungs. All naturally with no medicines.Salt therapy is absolutely safe for infants, the elderly and pregnant women. Since there is no medicine involved in the treatment, everyone from a 6 month old baby to an 80 year old adult can take the therapy without bothering about any negative fallout. Even pregnant women who are otherwise not advised medication can take this therapy and get relief from any allergy arising during their pregnancy. Salt therapy has no side effects. There is nothing entering your digestive tract that can possibly cause any side effect. Salt enters the lungs, reacts with the mucous present there and comes out of the body along with that mucous.  Presence of tons of salt in the salt room makes the environment absolutely clean and no allergens can find their way into it. People with respiratory disorders need such a clean atmosphere so that a one hour salt room session helps to cleanse their system and not irritate it. That is the reason why people with very chronic allergic cough can also endure the salt spray and benefit from it.Salt therapy offers long term relief. The basic function of salt therapy is to cleanse your lungs. So once your treatment is complete and your lungs get cleansed, the chances that they will remain that way are very high. But here we cannot ignore the fact that we are living in one of the most polluted regions of the world and you are constant being exposed to allergens. One might need maintenance sessions once every 3 months to keep your lungs clean and healthy.  Salt therapy de-stresses and calms the mind. Salt is inherently negatively ionized. Nature has made it this way.Negative ions are considered to be ‘cleansers of the air’ and salt has the property of negative ionization. Negative ionization of the air relieves stress, so spending an hour inside the salt room not just cleanses your lungs but also relieves your mind of stress. De-stressing the mind is considered to be an important step towards treating any kind of respiratory problem.So what are you waiting for? Come to the salt room and soak in the benefits of this miracle mineral!

How Do I Know When My Child Has sinusitis.....?

Mrs. Anju Chandna, Yoga and Naturopathy
Mothers often tend to aggravate their child’s symptoms. A mild cough becomes “my child is constantly coughing”, one uneasy night due to a blocked nose gets translated into “my child never sleeps peacefully” and one incident of a viral infection is “my child is always falling sick” and sends moms scurrying to doctors for treatment. I can say this with so much conviction because I’m a mother of two grown up kids. And thank God for that! Because when they were young, my life revolved around their noses and their tummies. Little children’s noses are always an issue of discussion. Reason? They are more prone to infections of the nose, sinus, and ears, especially when they are young. Children’s sinuses are not fully developed till their late teens. Because of that, sinusitis in children is difficult to diagnose because symptoms similar to sinusitis can be caused by other problems also, like a viral infection or even allergies. But if your child shows symptoms for more than let’s say a week to ten days, a sinus infection may be the cause.Look out for the following symptoms in your child:•    Your child has cold that refuses to go with a bad nasal blockage lasting almost 10 days•    Low-grade fever with the cold •    Sore throat and nausea •    Heaviness in the head, usually children above six can express this symptom, younger children will just become cranky and irritable•    Swollen/puffy eyes These symptoms could indicate to an inflammation of the sinuses, also called Sinusitis. Since this is an allergic ailment, precaution is the key. And the first and foremost precaution is reducing exposure to known environmental allergies and pollutants.Conventional medicines would include anti-allergens or antibiotics that can help to reduce symptoms. In acute cases your child’s medical history of infections and allergies can also be considered to understand the problem. But can these medicines treat your child completely? Forever? What you need to know is that at the end of it all, allergies attack people with low immunity. And children stand at the lowest rung of the immunity ladder. So building immunity can be a good way to treat a young one’s health problem without any medication and the side effects of long term medication.Salt therapy can be a very effective therapy in treating symptoms of sinusitis in children with no medicine and no side effects. Salt inhaled by your child will cleanse his/her nasal passage, clear the sinuses and restore normal breathing. And above all enhance body immunity.So what are you waiting for? Give your child healthy sinuses with salt therapy!

Childhood Urinary Tract Infection

Dr. Anish Kumar Gupta, Andrologist
By the time a child is 5 years old, about 8 percent of girls and 1 - 2 percent of boys have had a urinary tract infection (UTI). Bacteria are not normally found in urine. UTIs are more common in girls than boys. Infections are more common in the urethra and bladder, which make up the lower part of the urinary tract. Infections that move up to the kidneys can be more serious. If left untreated, these infections have a risk of leading to kidney failure.Signs and SymptomsSigns of UTI may be difficult to assess in young not toilet trained children.Pain, or burning when urinatingFrequent urination or feeling an increased urge to urinate, even without producing urineFoul-smelling urine that may look cloudy or contain bloodFeverLow back pain or pain in the area of the bladderDiagnosis and TreatmentA sample of urine will be taken for examination. Older children will most often be asked to urinate in a sterile container. Babies and small children in diapers may need a catheter (tube) to collect urine. The catheter keeps the sample from being contaminated by bacteria on the skin. The type of bacteria found may help decide the best drug to treat the UTI, usually antibiotics. It is important to give your child all the antibiotic course, even if he or she is feeling better. Most UTIs will be cured within a week if treated properly. The child should be urged to drink plenty of fluids. If a child has more than one UTI or has fever along with symptoms of UTI, he or she should see a Urologist. A Urologist will see if anything is abnormal in the child’s urinary tract. A common problem causing UTIs in children is a backwards flow of urine,  condition known as VUR.PreventionFrequent diaper changes can help prevent UTIs in babies and small children.When children start toilet training, it is important to teach them good bathroom habits. After each bowel movement, children should wipe from front to rear — not rear to front. When feeling the urge to urinate, children should also avoid “holding it” if they can reach a bathroom. Urine remaining in the bladder gives bacteria a good place to grow.If in doubt, consult a pediatrician or a urologist immediately. 

Homoeopathic Alternatives to Antibiotics

Dr. Sameer Kumar Singh, Homeopath
What Are Antibiotics?The word antibiotic comes from the Greek anti meaning ‘against’ and bios meaning ‘life’ (a bacterium is a life form).’ Antibiotics are also known as antibacterials, and they are drugs used to treat infections caused by bacteria. Bacteria are tiny organisms that can sometimes cause illness to humans and animals.Antibiotics, first used in the 1940s,An antibacterial is a compound or substance that kills or slows down the growth of bacteria.Before bacteria can multiply and cause symptoms our immune system can usually destroy them. We have special white blood cells that attack harmful bacteria. Even if symptoms do occur, our immune system can usually cope and fight off the infection.The first antibiotic was penicillin.How do antibiotics work?Although there are a number of different types of antibiotic they all work in one of two waysA bactericidal antibiotic kills the bacteria. Penicillin is a bactericidal. A bactericidal usually either interferes with the formation of the bacterium’s cell wall or its cell contents.A bacteriostatic stops bacteria from multiplying.What are antibiotics for?Do antibiotics work against all infections?An antibiotic is given for the treatment of an infection caused by bacteria. Antibiotics target microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi and parasites. However, they are not effective against viruses. If you have an infection it is important to know whether it is caused by bacteria or a virus. Most upper respiratory tract infections, such as the common cold and sore throats are generally caused by viruses – antibiotics do not work against these viruses.What are the side-effects of antibiotics?Antibiotics can cause more harm than good when they aren’t used the right wayBelow is a list of the most common side-effects of antibiotics:Side-effects range from mild to very serious depending on the antibiotics used, the microbial organisms targeted, and the individual patient.Safety profiles of newer drugs are often not as well established as for those that have a long history of use.Adverse effects range from fever and nausea to major allergic reactions, including photodermatitis and anaphylaxis.DiarrheaFeeling and being sickFungal infections of the mouth, digestive tract and vaginaBelow is a list of rare side-effects of antibiotics:Formation of kidney stones (when taking sulphonamides)Abnormal blood clotting (when taking some cephalosporins)Sensitivity to sun (when taking tetracyclines)Blood disorders (when taking trimethoprim)Deafness (when taking erythromycin and the aminoglycosides)Allergic reactions to antibioticsSome patients may develop an allergic reaction to antibiotics – especially penicillins. Side effects might include a rash, swelling of the tongue and face, and difficulty breathing. If you have ever had an allergic reaction to an antibiotic you must tell your doctor and/or pharmacist. Reactions to antibiotics can be very serious, and sometimes fatal – they are called anaphylactic reactions.AlcoholInteractions between alcohol and certain antibacterials may occur and may cause side-effectsUse antibiotics with extreme caution and ensure you inform your doctor/pharmacist if:You have reduced liver or kidney function.You are pregnantYou are breastfeeding.Antibiotic ResistanceOne of the foremost concerns in modern medicine is antibiotic resistance. Simply put, if an antibiotic is used long enough, bacteria will emerge that cannot be killed by that antibiotic. This is known as antibiotic resistance. But overprescribing them has resulted in the development of resistant bacteria, which are bacteria that don’t respond to antibiotics that may have worked in the past. Infections exist today that are caused by bacteria resistant to some antibiotics. The existence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria creates the danger of life-threatening infections that don’t respond to antibiotics.Bacteria become resistant more quickly when antibiotics are used too often or are not used correctly (such as not taking a full course of antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor).Misuse-Though antibiotics are required to treat severe bacterial infections, misuse has contributed to a rise in bacterial resistance.Self prescription of antibacterials is an example of misuse.Common forms of antibacterial misuse include excessive use of prophylactic antibiotics in travelers and failure of medical professionals to prescribe the correct dosage of antibiotics on the basis of the patient’s weight and history of prior use.Although Antibiotics are operative in eliminating bad bacteria, they also destroy the good bacteria, which is a vital part of our immune system. Good bacteria produce natural Antibiotics, Anticarcinogens and Cholesterol lowering substances and keep our digestive tracts functioning well.Several transmuted strains of bacteria, are resilient to Antibiotics and are not influenced by the drugs of the pharmaceutical industry.An Antibiotic or an Anti-viral drug may remove the pathogen, but will not assist in escalating the person’s immune system, thereby, increasing chances of re-infection. Due to side effects with Antibiotics and Antiviral drugs, most people these days are looking at Natural remedies.Naturopathy or antibiotics-What do I choose and why?Naturopathy is a traditional healing system that has been used throughout the ages and is now backed by outstanding clinical research. Naturopathy can not only shorten the length and intensity of immune complaints but also help to ward them off in the first place.Naturopathy helps to build natural immunity by bringing ones overall health and wellbeing into alignment.Historically Naturopaths would call your immune system your overall vitality and if you have a few too many health complaints in combination, say your digestion and immune system, then your vitality could be viewed as sub optimum. The good news is that Naturopathy has an amazing array of immune boosting herbs that can bring up your vitality in no time at all.Some examples–Mushroom extract –  mushrooms in the diet can  strengthen the immune system.Honey – a very strong antibiotic on the skin, and also its astringent properties helps to heal the cut.  one can apply  honey a couple of times to the stitches, then covered with a large band aid.Garlic – antibiotic, anti-parasitic and antiseptic when consumed raw, and a boost to the immune system.Coconut oil – contains lauric acid, medium chain fatty acids that are antifungal and antibiotic.  Coconut oil is awesome for keeping the skin around the stitches moist.Naturopathy works to proved herbal and nutritional symptomatic relief but can also assist in boosting immunity against viruses and bacteria.Homeopathic Alternatives to Antibiotics-Your child is restless all night with a sore throat, cough and fever. You rush your child to the Doctor next morning and the Doctor prescribes an Antibiotic. A few days later, your child is well again. Actually, was it the Antibiotic that helped or did the ailment merely run its course? In another scenario, you have a sinus infection or a bladder infection, and you are prescribed an Antibiotic, after you discontinue the Antibiotic, your symptoms come back, and your Doctor recommends another course of a stronger Antibiotic. Before you recognize, you are taking different Antibiotics for extended periods.Antibiotics are the leading prescribed drugs and have become a major part of the treatment modality in modern medicine today.Homoeopathy:a better substitute to antibiotics-it i an effective alternate to antibiotics in infectious diseases,producing no toxic side effects & bringing about rapid recovery.Ifectious diseases such as sinusitis,tonsillitis,bronchitis,pneumonia,otitis media,gastroenteritis,dysentry,urinary infections,,respond well to homoeopathy.Homeopathic medicine actually gained its greatest popularity primarily due to its impressive successes in the treatment of infectious diseases in the19th century.What is so different about homeopathy? Homeopathic medicines are not just composed with different medicinal ingredients, and they are not just the use of smaller doses of medicines. Homeopathy represents a different approach to understanding disease and health.What also makes homeopathy different (and sometimes more difficult) than conventional medicine is that homeopathic medicines are not prescribed to treat a specific or localized disease but are prescribed to treat specific syndromes of symptoms of which one’s disease is just one part.In other words, two people may have the common cold, but one would have a thin watery nasal disease that irritates the nostrils, frequent  sneezing, and a headache, all of which are aggravated by warmth. The other would have thick yellowish nasal discharge that doesn’t irritate the nostrils, nasal congestion alternating with nasal discharge, a cough that is relieved in the open air, and no thirst.In Homeopathy, there is no Antibiotic or Anti viral remedy, because every correctly prescribed Homeopathic remedy has the potential of strengthening a person’s immune system that helps to fight any bacterial or viral infection. Homeopathy has several advantages, which make it, a preferred alternative over conventional Antibiotics. It is safe with no side effects, does not suppress the immune systemSelf – care –Measures along with Homeopathic remedies during an active infection:Eliminate caffeine, alcohol, sugar, dairy, refined foods.Eat lightly.Be well hydrated.Drink warm beverages, like herbal teas.Juice fasting can help during an infection.Strengthen your immune system with yoghurt, foods rich in Vitamin C, Beta-carotene, and zinc.Colon cleansing can help.Steam baths can help detoxify your system during infections.Massage can speed up elimination of toxins, particularly a foot massage.Relax and get enough rest.Local application of turmeric can help skin infections.Hot ginger tea for throat infections.Have a positive mental attitude.Hence, to summarize, Antibiotics are an interesting group of medications, however, they tend to be over prescribed and toxic. They must be utilized as a last option, not the first.The use of Homeopathy as a possible alternative to Antibiotics would be more favorable, harmless and cost-effective.

3 Things You Must Do to Treat and Prevent Urinary Tract Infections

Dr. Himani Gupta, Gynecologist/Obstetrician
The phrase urinary tract infection conjures up spectres of pain, burning, fever, irritation and sometimes bleeding- a veritable nightmare for today’s multitasking woman. Catching and treating UTIs at the earliest (apart from avoiding them altogether!) are your best bet for avoiding long-drawn out health complications.Get Pill-osophicalThe quickest and most effective means of dealing with UTIs is to get medical treatment. A course of antibiotics is prescribed to stop the infection-causing bacteria in their (urinary) tracks and to prevent a relapse. Though effective, these antibiotics tend to have side effects like acidity ,metallic taste in mouth diarrhoea, loss of appetite etc. Some people may be allergic to a particular drug and may develop rashes and itching. If you experience any of the above, seek medical assistance.Beat the Pain-demicWear non-restrictive and loose clothing that won’t put pressure on your abdomen. There are specific bladder analgesics (pain killer) tablets available.Ask your doctor to prescribe them to you.Paging Dr. NatureTaking the antibiotic to kill the bacteria and increasing fluid intake to flush them out go hand in hand. Fluid intake thus becomes very important. Drinking water, green tea, and cranberry juice will cleanse and rid the urinary tract of any bacterial remnants. A U-Turn on UTIsMany women especially college going and working ones, will experience recurrent urinary tract infection. Therefore, drink plenty of water, empty your bladder frequently, wash and wipe yourself after using the bathroom. You can ask your doctor to prescribe you pH balanced medicated feminine wash for regular use.At times investigations of urine like routine microscopy, culture & sensitivity testing to know type of bacteria are done. Checking blood for haemoglobin and sugar levels also is done.Prevention is far better than any known cure. So stay hydrated, let it go, and allow your bladder to do its job!

Ten Preventive Tips for Urinary Tract Infection

Dr. Prashant C Dheerendra, Nephrologist
The urinary tract is comprised of the two kidneys, two ureters, bladder and urethra. An urinary tract infection ('UTI') can involve the bladder ('cystitis') or the kidneys ('pyelonephritis'). Pyelonephritis is a more serious infection than cystitis but thankfully it is less common. Women of reproductive age group are the most susceptible to UTI but no age or gender is immune. The symptoms include frequent urination, burning sensation while passing urine, lower abdominal or pelvic pain in cystitis. High temperature with chills, vomiting and pain over the abdominal flanks are present in pyelonephritis. Some simple steps can help prevent UTIs. 1. Proper toilet hygieneA 'front to back' method of cleaning up after passing stools will avoid the bacteria from rectum getting access to the bladder. It would be prudent not to use a toilet paper twice. 2. Get screened during pregnancyHarmful bacteria may be present in the urinary tract without causing any symptoms during pregnancy. It is a routine practice to screen for bacteria in urine in early pregnancy. A course of antibiotics prescribed by your obstetrician should generally eradicate the bacteria. This will help in preventing more serious infections later in the pregnancy. 3. Prefer sanitary napkins over tampons Tampons might be more friendly towards the infection causing bacteria than sanitary napkins. If one has to use tampons, then remove them before urinating. 4. Don't suppress the urge to urinateThe longer urine lies stagnant in the bladder, the better it is for bacterial growth. On the other hand passing urine every few minutes is impractical. A golden rule is to not suppress the urge to pass urine. Urinating once every 2-3 hours during day should be a reasonable frequency. 5. After sexual intercourseSexual intercourse has the potential to provide the bacteria access to the urinary system. Voiding immediately after intercourse helps 'flush out' the germs that might have gained access. 6. Reconsider contraceptionSome contraceptive methods like diaphragms and spermicidal jellies increase the likelihood of contracting a UTI. Discuss the pros and cons with your doctor if you are using one of these. 7. Use loose garmentsA dry vaginal area is a deterrent to bacterial growth. Tight fitting clothes, undergarments made of non-breathable fabrics promote bacterial growth by increasing moisture in the area. Avoid them ! 8. If post menopausal consider need for estrogen cream Post menopausal status might predispose to bladder infections because of changes in the vaginal skin. Consult your doctor if estrogen creams might benefit you. 9. Cranberry juice is probably helpful Cranberry juice contains chemicals called proanthocyanidins which decrease the stickiness of bacteria to the bladder wall. While not conclusively proven, cranberry juice probably helps prevent UTI in young women. 10. Control blood sugars if you are diabeticDiabetics are one of the groups worst affected by UTIs. The infections can be severe and sometimes life threatening in this particular group. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels over long periods increase the risk of such infections. Meticulous attention to good blood sugar control should decrease the risk significantly. In-spite of above measures sometimes one may get a UTI occasionally. Recognise the symptoms and see your doctor immediately. You will probably need  a short course of antibiotics followed by a reinforcement of the preventive measures!

Inhalers Are Not Toys!

Mrs. Anju Chandna, Yoga and Naturopathy
Writing anything that concerns kids is difficult because it’s obviously not read by children but by their mothers. I am not ashamed to admit that when I was young mother many years ago I remember being completely obsessed with my children. A mild cough, a slight fever, a runny nose or even a handful of sneezes would make me run frantically to the doctor. So it’s not really difficult for me to empathize with the kind of stress mothers go through when their children are not well. And if you are living in the part of world where pollution levels are so very high, one comes across such unwell kids and worried mothers all the time. Mothers who are tired of their kids coughing at night, having runny or blocked noses always. Kids who refuse to eat, or are extremely restless while asleep and breathe heavily, of kids who constantly throw tantrums and are always irritable. Typically such children want to hover around their mothers, holding on to them to find comfort from their uneasy physical condition. The uneasiness is obviously caused by their inability to breathe normally, clinically speaking the condition could be bronchitis, allergic bronchitis, inflammation of the upper airways or any other kind of respiratory allergy. Why is it that children suffer more from such respiratory issues? There are many reasons for this. - Children’s lungs are not fully developed till the age of 8 or 9 years, their capacity to clean the inhaled air is less compared to that of a normal adult. - Besides children are small and inhale closer to the ground. The heavy impurities of the air are the closest near the ground and children end up inhaling them. - Another very obvious reason is that vehicular emissions are the highest near the ground. If your child happens to be close to a vehicle, chances are that he will inhale the maximum of that smoke or fume. - Also children breathe faster than adults so the amount of polluted air that inhale is also much higher. The harm caused to your little one’s lungs because of all these reasons can be minimized but not completely eliminated. Medication is not an answer for such pressing allergies, they certainly bring relief but only temporarily, besides too much medication has its own side effects. So how can you ensure that your little one does not have to play with inhalers anymore and gets the cleanest environment to breathe in without you having to worry about his health?The answer lies in a natural treatment called salt therapy that can help you ensure that your child is inhaling the best quality of air available. During an hour long session in the salt room, while your child is busy playing with toys, or watching cartoons on TV, or squatting on the floor playing with salt and filling up his sand toys with it, the pure salt aerosol enters your child’s lungs. As it flows through the airways, all accumulated mucous starts to melt and even before it reaches the smallest bronchioles of the lungs the airways are already cleansed of allergy-causing- mucous. A few more sessions later, your child has his healthy lungs back again and symptoms of blockage disappear. His normal breathing is restored, uneasiness and irritability subside, appetite is enhanced and all this with no medicines and certainly no side effects. (Picture courtesy Google)