Echinacea. Part 2

We know that good hand-washing reduces the spread of infection. An antibacterial soap is available for children and adults and should be used. A healthy, well-balanced diet consisting of the four basic food groups and vitamins and minerals are also essential.

Several guidelines will help to reduce the number of transmissible infections that a child catches each year. Newborns are unable to localize infections. A simple cold can spread to the urinary tract, spinal fluid, or bloodstream. The possibility of urinary tract infection, meningitis, and bacteremia (bacteria in the blood) must all be eliminated when an infant less than two months of age develops a fever of more than 101 degrees. For newborns, preventing contact with any school -age children, or anyone with even the remnants of an illness, is most prudent.

The same principles apply to older children. Remembering that even simple colds can lead to lower respiratory infections, such as pneumonia and bronchitis, is important. School-age children should spend time out of school when they are ill; this will prevent the continuation of a viral epidemic. Adults should be familiar with their illnesses and should not expose young children to them.

Preventing the spread of communicable diseases should be a part of all of our lives. We should remain aware of the impact we have on others if we choose not to keep our children home when they are ill. The incidence of infection is dramatically higher in children who are in day care centers.

Avoiding contact with people known to be ill can drastically reduce contagion. Careful hand-washing and healthy eating habits also help to control spread of infection. The use of vitamin C and echinacea vary in effectiveness, but are worth considering. Common sense and socially responsible behavior will help to reduce the incidence of bothersome and frequent infections.

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