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Child diseases and conditions



Congenital Anomalies


There are so many congenital anomalies with some may be minor, others severe and some even incompatible with life. Some of the common ones are mentioned below.

Anomalies of fingers and toes :
There may be an extra finger or toe. It may be hanging with a little skin, or may have separate bones, muscles and so on.
If it is only a thin tag of skin, the tag can be tied with a strand of nylon thread and it will separate very soon. But, this should only be done under medical advice.

Cleft lip (hare lip) :
In this there will be a cleft in the upper lip. Sometimes, there may be two clefts also, with the central part of the lip cutting out.
The nose is also malformed which may be asymmetrical and flatter than normal.
With good surgical skill available now, very good repair can be done .

Cleft palate :
This Cleft palate may be associated with cleft lip or may be present by itself. This is a more serious anomaly because it interferes with feeding. When a baby takes a feed, the feed tends to get regurgitated through the nose, and may even be aspirated into the lungs.
The baby should be fed sitting in an upright position, and with a wide teat which tends to close the gap in the palate. With a little practice, most mothers can feed their babies with success. Some prefer to feed with a spoon.
Breast-feeding is usually difficult.
Cleft palate also results in a nasal voice. The operation is done around 1 to l-1/2 years of age, and the results are satisfactory.

Clubfoot :
This is also called talipes. One or both feet are turned inwards at birth. The treatment should tart as early as possible and consists of manipulation of the foot into the corrected position and maintaining the position with a plaster of Paris cast. The cast has to be changed frequently and treatment carried out for several months.

Hydrocephalus :
This is a Condition in which the head is bigger than normal. The bones are separate and the fontanel is large and tense. Various operations are available now by which the extra cerebro-spinal fluid which is produced in the brain, is shunted off. An early operation produces good results.

Imperforate anus :
This is a condition in which the anal opening is not patent, and so no stool can be passed. This condition can be diagnosed soon after birth, when the baby fails to pass meconium (first stools). Examination will show that the anal opening is not patent. A surgeon should be consulted immediately. The operation is usually a simple one, unless the obstruction is very high.

Lachrymal duct obstruction :
There is a small passage, lachrymal duct, between the eye and nose which carries the extra secretions of the eye into the nose. At times the duct on one or both sides may be blocked and the baby’s eyes water , which is called as epiphora.
Normally, the condition is cured within a few weeks by gently massaging the lachrymal duct downward from the eye. If there is no improvement within three to four months, needling of the duct may be necessary. This is a minor procedure, and should not be postponed unnecessarily because of fear or anxiety.

Microcephaly :
In this condition the head is smaller than normal. The brain is of a smaller size, and so these children are mentally retarded. Nothing can be done for this condition since the smallness of the head is due to the smaller size of the brain.

Obstruction in the intestinal canal :

Obstruction can be at any level, starting with the food pipe or the oesophagus. The baby keeps drooling because he cannot swallow his saliva.
If a feed is given the baby becomes blue at once, and has difficulty in breathing because the feed goes into the lungs instead of into the stomach.
The obstruction may be beyond the stomach.
The baby will start vomiting within a day or two of birth, will not pass normal stool and the abdomen will become distended.
Immediate consultation with a surgeon should be sought.

Recto-vaginal fistula :
In this condition the anal opening is not formed, but there is an abnormal opening of the rectum into the vagina, and so the baby passes stool through the vagina.
The condition can be suspected while cleaning the baby after he has passed a stool.
A surgeon should be consulted.


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