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Sep 15, 2016

Healthy Living and the illnesses of September

By now, all primary school children have begun to settle into their new classes in the different schools across the country. This is good news for parents as they can now worry a little less about their child’s readjustment. There’s one thing that you may not know about the second or third week of school. It’s actually the time that pediatricians and other doctors see a spike in certain illness in children. Why is this so? Well in tonight’s edition of healthy living, Pediatrician, Doctor Cecilio Eck, explains the illnesses that are common in September and their common causes.


Dr. Cecilio Eck, Pediatrician

Dr. Cecilio Eck

“I usually joke with our staff, we have one week of break – that first week of school and after that week finishes which is this week; everybody starts to come in.”


Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

Why would school children have a tendency to get sick around the same time each year? Pediatrician, Dr Cecilio Eck, works both in the private and public healthcare systems. He says, there are several reasons why this time of year is a peak season for illnesses.


Dr. Cecilio Eck

“There are fast months and slow months and they are closely aligned with weather. During the summer months when its hot and dry and the kids are out of school, the admission rate at the KHMH precipitously fall. And when schools returns, and it is aligned with rainy season & this year Earl passing through we get a lot of kids getting exposed to a lot of illnesses. The two common illnesses would be gastro-intestinal illnesses and viral illnesses of the respiratory track basically vomiting and diarrhea, coughs, colds, flus and asthma and pneumonia. The viruses like the cold wet weather. So with the rainy season coming, all of them coming back to school. And the way I put to parents is they “share the love”. They walk and say let me taste your juice (gestures drinking) or Let me taste your Pringles – that you already bite – and I eat it. So a lot of viruses are shared and that is why they get sick more often now.”


What can parents do to prevent this – as Dr Eck calls it -“sharing of love?”.


Dr. Cecilio Eck

“It comes back to, I say parenting begins at home, we should teach them not to share utensils at school, not to share your friend’s coke, if they want a biscuit, you hand it to them. Wash your hands before you eat and after you eat and after you go to the bathroom as well. Because that is the way these spread. It’s usually direct contact that spread these germs of illness.”


Another factor that may explain why you are or areNOT nursing a sick at this time is the state of their overall well being or health.


Dr. Cecilio Eck

“I get parents who are very upset and they say : “Doc, the neighbors have their children in the yard playing in the drain catching “poopsi” and the NEVER get sick, My children cold weather touch the mold and I’m in the hospital with pneumonia.” So yes, kids vary just like me & you and the immune system vary. Some are very hardy and don’t get sick at all. Some as you watch them they get ill. The average though is six times a year a normal school aged child should or would on average get sick with a fever. It’s a shared responsibility, if your child is ill then you keep the child at home and make appropriate arrangements to not have the child go to school and share the love. I usually with very simple viral illness, keep the child home until the fever abates ad then the child can return to school.”

Dr Eck advises that parents encourage children to drink more water; especially on these hot days. He also took the time to warn parents, and schools, about heat exposure especially as the traditional uniform parade draws near.


Dr. Cecilio Eck

“In a week’s time we’ll have our road march and invariably again, on the sidelines, the doctors are called to resuscitate kids who didn’t take enough fluids, didn’t have enough coverage the hats due to school codes. And too are not allowed to get liquids from relatives on the sidelines. Those are things that schools need to consider and be a little bit lax on the rules to avert this and maybe the final point is that in some cases when that parade route is planned. They need to plan for escape routes in case someone would fall or need to get out and there are accessible routes in and out along the parade to get them to the nearest health institution.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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