You hardly see small babies (weeks or a couple of months old) outside in public places. I would always hear from the moms and lolas “Naku, hindi pa nababakunahan, wag muna ilabas.” Rightly so! In our age of SARS, H1N1 and other scary respiratory diseases (yes, Contagion is in my movie playlist), you can never be too careful especially with babies whose immune systems are still at risk.
I follow our pedia’s recommended vaccination schedule religiously. From birth to 6 months, M’s and N’s vaccination consisted of 9 vaccines: BCG, Hepatitis B, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Polio, Rotavirus, Hib, Pneumococcal. The other vaccines were pretty easy to understand but pneumococcal I thought pertained to only pneumonia. According to pediatrician Carmina de los Reyes during her talk during the PLAY (Protection Love and Activities for Young Kids) event in Fun Ranch, pneumococcal diseases (PDs) consist of otitis media or ear infections, pneumonia, sepsis and even meningitis. From her, I also learned that PD is the #1 cause of death among Filipino children.
How do we help prevent pneumonia in our babies/ kids?
- Exclusive breastfeeding for the 1st 6 months and it would be great if the mom can continue breastfeeding even up to 4 years (I am happy I was able to breastfeed M for 10 months and N for 18 months)
- Adequate nutrition
- Proper prenatal care to reduce low birth weight
- Reduce indoor air pollution
- Proper hand washing
At home, we can control the elements (keep our homes clean, wash properly before we touch our kids, etc.) but once our kids go out to play (public playgrounds and play areas, school, the toy store), the world is in chaos and we expose them to health risks. As much as I’d like to keep them in a bubble ala John Travolta (if you know what I’m talking about, you are old enough to remember the time when it was always aired on Channel 9), I know I can’t, so prevention is the best thing to do.
Protection, Love, and Activities for Young Kids or P.L.A.Y. is a disease awareness raising campaign organized by Mommy Mundo in partnership with GlaxoSmithKline, a global leader in preventive healthcare. For more information, visit www.mommymundo.com/vaccinate.