Though the monsoon is delayed this year, the rainy season is still the most dreaded season for mothers with newborn babies. The newborn infants are highly susceptible to both vector-borne and water-borne diseases.

When the rains come the mosquitoes will breed in the rainwater puddles and spread viral diseases like Dengue and Chikungunya. The rains also cause the contamination of water in various drinking water sources like drinking water tanks and wells, resulting in infants developing gastroenteritis.

Most of the children, who get infected suffer fever and recover. A small percentage of them however suffer the shock syndrome and have to be hospitalised without any delay.

The symptoms of the Dengue Shock Syndrome are sudden collapse, the extremities (palms and feet) becoming cold and clammy, the pulse becoming weak, blueness around the mouth, bleeding with easy bruising, blood spots in the skin, spitting up of blood, blood in the stools, nose and gum bleeds. Pneumonia and heart inflammation may also be present.

In gastroenteritis cases extreme dehydration sends the infant into shock. The blood pressure drops, respiratory system collapses and there is a chance of the infant going into coma.

Paediatric Intensive Care specialist P. V. Rama Rao said that “aggressive treatment” was needed for children suffering from the Dengue Shock Syndrome. All the body parameters like blood pressure should be maintained medically. Blood platelet count should be closely monitored and maintained. “The platelet count keeps drop because until the virus infects the bone marrow. Until the infection comes down the body loses the capacity to produce platelets,” he said. In case of Gastroenteritis fluid management needed to be done “aggressively,” Dr Rama Rao said. The baby should be put on a ventilator until the infection comes down and respiration resumes, he said. There is shock in only two to three per cent of the cases, but the morbidity and mortality rates could be reduced with timely treatment.

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