By Asmau Ahmad with NAN Report
Abuja, Dec. 14, 2014 (NAN) Medical experts have called on parents to pay more attention to the health of their children, especially hand hygiene.
This, they said, would check the spread of infectious diseases during the dry season. The experts made the call in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja. They said that more children were exposed to infections during the dry season than in other periods of the year. They emphasized that improving hand hygiene of children would greatly reduce the risks associated with contracting diseases such as diarrhea and respiratory tract infections.
A pediatrician with the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH), Dr Akudo Kanu, said that children, while playing, could be exposed to many unseen germs that often led to infections. She said that the tendency for children to contract diseases such as respiratory tract infections was higher during the dry season. Kanu urged parents, guardians and teachers to pay particular attention to children’s hand hygiene in order to reduce the tendency for contracting diseases.
“This period is when we witness so many respiratory tract infections which often come with cough, catarrh and sometimes vomiting. This season is the time when these viruses thrive more; when children sneeze or cough with their hands covering their mouths, they easily transfer it to their peers through touching. So, hand washing is paramount during this season for all children and parents whether in school or at home, “she said.
Dr Orji Amaechi, a physician also at UATH, emphasized the importance of maintaining hand hygiene in schools and at home for children. “Hand hygiene for children has become so important because almost 70 per cent of the diseases contracted by children are either through dirty hands or dirty things they eat. It is therefore necessary for children and their parents or guardians to know about this reality,” he said.
Amaechi said that diseases that could lead to death in children could be avoided by simply imbibing the habit of constant hand washing at home and school. He also called for regular check-ups for children to ascertain their health conditions and also get rid of worms in them.
Amaechi urged parents to give worm-expelling drugs to their children every three to six months, but lamented that the practice was not common in most parts of Nigeria. He stressed that it was in acknowledgement of the need to promote good personal hygiene in children that the Association of Resident Doctors, UATH chapter, conducted a medical outreach in Gwagwalada.
He said the association gave out worm-expelling drugs to no fewer than 300 children and some parents at the ECWA Primary and Secondary Schools in Gwagwalada. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the children received lessons on imbibing good hand washing habits both at home and in school.