Posts Tagged ‘infection’

Prevent syphilis in your baby

Monday, May 8th, 2017

doctorCongenital syphilis (present at birth) can cause serious lifelong health conditions, or even death, for a baby. Unfortunately, the number of congenital syphilis cases in the United States increased 46 percent between 2012 and 2015.

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD), also known as a sexually transmitted infection (STI). You can get it by having unprotected sex with someone who is infected with syphilis. You can also get it by having direct contact with an infected person’s syphilis sore which may be on a person’s lips, in their mouth or on their genitals.

If a woman has syphilis and gets pregnant, she needs to be treated for syphilis. If she doesn’t receive treatment, syphilis can pass to her baby.

The good news is that congenital syphilis is preventable:

  1. Protect yourself first. Either don’t have sex or have safe sex by using a condom or other barrier method.
  2. Go to all your prenatal care checkups; your provider will test you for syphilis.
  3. If you have syphilis, your provider will begin treatment. The sooner you receive treatment, the less likely you and your baby may have complications from the infection.
  4. Ask your partner to be tested (and treated) for syphilis, so that you don’t get infected or re-infected.

If you’re not sure whether you have syphilis, or think you may have been exposed to it, contact your healthcare provider.

See our article for more details about protecting yourself and your baby from syphilis. Our article includes diagnosis and treatment information, too.

If you have questions, text or email AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

When to use antibiotics

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

antibioticsThere was a time when parents who had a child with a sore throat or flu symptoms would ask their child’s health care provider for an antibiotic to help her feel better and get well and some providers would prescribe it.  But we’ve learned over the years that antibiotics, which are wonderful in some situations, are not the be all and end all and if given too often they may cause more harm than good.

First of all, antibiotics treat only bacterial infections. They do nothing to fight viruses which are the cause of most common colds, cough and flu. Secondly, if antibiotics are used when they are not needed or appropriate, bacteria over time can become resistant to them and then the bacterial infections they are designed to treat will no longer be curable by these medications. Thirdly, when an antibiotic is properly prescribed but the complete course of the drug is not given to the patient (your toddler feels better after six days so the complete ten day course is not followed), resistance can occur.

The American Academy of Pediatrics wants parents to remember three important points regarding antibiotics:
1 – Do not ask your pediatrician for a prescription for antibiotics to treat your child’s colds and flu. This does not mean that you should not take your child to the doctor to be examined. Your doc will be able to tell you if it’s a viral or bacterial infection and whether or not she needs an antibiotic.
2 – When your pediatrician does prescribe an antibiotic for an infection, make sure your child takes it exactly as the doc tells you. Be sure that she takes all of it.
3 – Do not give your child antibiotics from a previous illness or one that has been prescribed for another family member.

Having the use of antibiotics at the right time can be a real blessing, even a life saver. Using them at the wrong time will do no good and may cause problems in the future.

Stop CMV

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

stopcmv

June is National Congenital CMV Awareness Month.  The “Hands to Stop CMV” Awareness Campaign is aiming to collect photos of people with “Stop CMV” written on their hand to be posted online for public viewing and voting during the month of June.  The photo receiving the most votes will be featured in a public service announcement for Stop CMV.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV), is a common viral infection, a member of the herpes virus family, and is most common in young children.

About half of pregnant women have had CMV in the past and most of these women do not need to be concerned about it during pregnancy. However, an infected woman can pass the virus on to her baby during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Most infected babies have no serious problems from the virus, but some infected newborns develop serious illness or lasting disabilities, or even die.  Women need to know this.

CMV is the most common congenital (present at birth) infection in the United States. Each year about 1 in 150 babies is born with congenital CMV infection. About 8,000 children each year develop lasting disabilities caused by congenital CMV infection.

A woman who contracts CMV for the first time during pregnancy has about a 1-in-3 chance of passing the virus on to her fetus. She can pass CMV on to her baby at any stage of pregnancy. However, studies suggest that babies are more likely to develop serious complications when their mother is infected in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. Pregnant women should be aware of the basic prevention measures to guard against CMV infection:  frequent hand washing after contact with urine, nasal secretions and saliva of young children, including after changing diapers wiping noses and drool, or picking up toys ; not kissing young children on the mouth; not sharing food, towels, or utensils with them.

For more information read our fact sheet on CMV in pregnancy.   We’ll be posting on this important topic again later this month.

Some antibiotics linked to increased risk of several birth defects

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

pills21An exploratory study has found that two types of antibiotics taken during pregnancy are linked to an increased risk of several birth defects. 

The two types of antibiotics are:

Nitrofurantoins, including Macrobid and Furadantin 

* Sulfonamides (also known as sulfa drugs), including Bactrim 

Penicillins appear to be the safest of the drugs studied.

Antiobiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, such as urinary tract infections. Bacterial infections can be dangerous to the fetus if untreated. So antibiotic treatment is sometimes appropriate for pregnant women.

If a pregnant woman needs to take an antibiotic, she should talk about the pro’s and con’s of the various choices with her health care provider.

It is too early to say if the antibiotics linked to birth defects in the study are the cause of the defects. Something else may be the cause. Researchers are continuing to study the question.

One of the authors of the study told U.S. News & World Report, “The most important message is that most commonly used antibiotics do not seem to be associated with the birth defects we studied.”

The study was published in the November issue of the medical journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Infections after c-section

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

mom-with-newborn1Did you know? Women who have a c-section are more likely to develop a postpartum infection than women who have a vaginal delivery.

A new study from Denmark looked at the records of over 30,000 women who had given birth. Those who had a c-section were at increased risk of having a urinary tract infection (UTI) or a wound infection within the first 30 days after delivery. (A wound infection affects the area where the incision was made.) Other studies have also found an increased risk of infection after cesarean.

So if you have a c-section, be on the alert for these signs:

* For a UTI, watch for pain or burning when you go to the bathroom, blood in your urine, fever and the urge to go often.

* For  wound infection, watch for redness, swelling or pus around the incision site. Sometimes, the wound may open, and you may run a fever.

For more information, read the March of Dimes article on cesarean birth. Or watch our video C-Section: Recovering After Surgery.

Clarcon skin products recalled

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

lotionClarcon Biological Chemistry Laboratory is recalling some skin sanitizers and skin protectants because disease-causing bacteria has been found in the products.

Some of the bacteria can cause infections of the skin and underlying tissues. These infections may need medical or surgical attention and could result in permanent damage.

Because the products are promoted to treat open wounds and damaged skin, the risk of infection may be high. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is telling consumers not to use Clarcon products and to throw away Clarcon products that they own. 

For a complete list of the recalled products, see the FDA news release.

Dog bites and kids

Friday, May 15th, 2009

sleeping-dogOnce when I was a kid, I was riding my bike, and a neighbor’s dog ran out and bit me on the leg. I cried all the way home. I love dogs, but I also respect them.

Next week is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. Thanks to dog vaccinations  and other public health efforts, rabies is rare in the United States. But it’s still a serious concern. And dog bites can also cause infection and serious injury.

Here’s what you and you family can do to protect yourselves from dog bites:

* Don’t approach an unfamiliar dog.

* Don’t run from a dog or scream when you’re around a dog.

* Be “still like a tree” if an unfamiliar dog approaches.

* If a dog knocks you down, roll into a ball and lie “still like a log.”

* Avoid direct eye contact with a dog.

* Don’t disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating or caring for puppies.

* Before petting a dog, let it see and sniff you.

* Report stray dogs or dogs acting strangely to your local animal control agency.

For more information, read Dog Bite Prevention on the Web site of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Swine flu outbreak: What it means for you and your family

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

pigSeveral people in the United States have developed swine flu, a respiratory disease that can sometimes be serious. According to the New York Times, hundreds of cases have been reported in Mexico.

Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. A person can get swine flu from a pig or from a human that has the infection.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is looking into the recent outbreak. For more info, including prevention tips, read the CDC Web page on swine flu.

Ferrets, reptiles and fish — Oh, my! Risks for children under the age of 5

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

When we were small, my sisters and I loved playing with Cuddles, our affectionate border collie. She was part of the family, almost another sister. Pets can bring so much into a chid’s life: fun, companionship, responsibility. But sometimes they can put a child’s health at risk.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)  has issued a report cautioning parents about the health risks of “nontraditional pets.” Such pets can spread disease and infection, cause injury, and trigger allergies. AAP encourages parents to take care, especially for children under the age of 5.

AAP’s list of “non-traditional” animals includes some that are fairly common in people’s homes. Examples from the list are aquarium fish, frogs, salamanders, ferrets, rabbits, mice, hamsters, guinea pigs, hedgehogs, turtles, monkeys, snakes, iguanas and alligators.

These animals can spread infections such as ringworm and illnesses that cause diarrhea and fever (like salmonella). Sometimes very serious illnesses are linked to “non-traditional” pets. Examples are plague, inflammation of the brain, and Guillain-Barre syndrome (a nerve disorder).

Talk to your child’s health care povider about the pets you own or are thinking about getting. Learn what you can do to reduce the risk. AAP recognizes that pets provide many benefits for children, but it’s a good idea to take care. Then go back to enjoying your pets and your children.

Ear infections

Friday, July 18th, 2008

A co-worker of mine was talking at lunch the other day about her son’s repeat ear infections.  It reminded me of the many infections my own son had many years ago.

Did you know that about two out of every three children have at least one ear infection before their second birthday?  That is because their immune systems are still developing, and the tiny eustachian tube in each ear has not yet grown enough in position or size to drain fluid that can build up behind the eardrum.  Fluid that sits in one spot can become a breeding ground for bacteria.  Did you know that standing fluid can create hearing loss?

When my son had an ear infection, he would spike a fever and cry all the time.  But my friend’s son has a different symptom – no fever, no crying, he just keeps tugging at his ear.  Since he has had a couple ear infections, his mom now recognizes the ear tugging signs and takes him to his doc for a check.

If you suspect your baby might have an ear infection, give his health care provider a call. Providers can diagnose an ear infection by looking deep inside a child’s ear canal with a special device. Some ear infections clear up without treatment within a few days. Others require antibiotics and your child’s provider will be able to judge what is best for each situation.

Some children are prone to repeated ear infections. In some tougher cases, a provider may recommend inserting tiny tubes in the eardrums to help drain the middle ear. The tubes may help prevent speech and language problems that may result from hearing loss from repeated or long-lasting ear infection.  This, ultimately, is what my son had done and it made a big difference.  But, luckily, it seems like my friend’s son will outgrow his ear trouble without the need for tubes.

Read our article on ear infection for more information.