Monday, December 20, 2010

An excellent online toy resource for your child in India

Many parents ask about safe and interesting toys for their toddlers and children.
While a bewildering variety of toys are available in the toy shelfs nowadays in India, choosing the best for our children can be confusing and intimidating.
Many of us try to go for the tried and tested imported brands like Fisher-Price etc.
Doing online search for toys for my daughter, I stumbled upon an excellent company - Early Learning Centre (ELC). This is a Britain based toys manufacturing company creating interesting and somewhat unique toys for children of various age-groups. While as of now, their website does not show any Indian Center, the fact is that these excellent toys are available online at Shoppers Stop website.
Also they seem to be in the process of setting shops in India, and have an outlet in Terminal 3 of Indira Gandhi Airport, New Delhi. The toys are very good build (my daugther's & her cousin's rough handling have not made a dent yet!) and are colorful, musical and quite interesting, I must say.
I would recommend that parents flying out from T3 in Delhi certainly take time out to visit this shop. Others can browse through the online collection at Shoppers Stop. This adds to my costs of flying in & out of Delhi :)
Full Disclosure: I am NOT associated with any of the websites mentioned above. I do not have any financial relationship with them either.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Best Diaper Brands in India - A Pediatrician's Personal Choice

Many parents of young children, especially NRIs (Non Resident Indians) are worried when they come over to India for vacations. They are not aware of what diaper brands are available, and whether the available brands would "suit" the sensitive skin of their toddler/ infant.
A whole range of good quality diaper brands are now available in India. Here is a small selection (in no particular order)
  • Pampers
  • Pampers (Active) - Imported from Saudi Arabia!
  • Huggies
  • Momy Poko Pants (Can be worn like an underwear - no need to fasten adhesive strips)
  • Wipro Baby Soft - Cloth like feel
Many of the upscale pharmacies in bigger cities also have a wide range of Imported Diapers. Hence I rarely advise parents to carry diapers in from abroad, unless the skin of the child is very sensitive, and allergic to a large number of available brands.
My personal favorite is surprisingly an Indian Brand - Wipro's Baby Soft Diapers. There are two reasons for the same...
  1. It actually has a cloth like feel and is thus probably less likely to cause a contact dermatitis / allergic rash.
  2. Its drying power is phenomenal, and the diaper remains significantly drier for longer than with other brands.
Full Disclosure: I use this brand for my daughter. I have NO financial relationship with the manufacturers of any diaper brands, including the ones that I am recommending. I have to buy them just like the rest of us :)

Monday, December 06, 2010

Top 10 Medical Advances of the Decade (2000-2010): ABC news

  1. Decoding of the Human Genome
  2. Adoption of Information Technology
  3. Smoking significantly reduced
  4. Heart disease deaths reduced by 25%
  5. Stem cell research
  6. Targeted cancer therapy medicines
  7. Combination drug therapy extends Survival rates for HIV sufferers
  8. Micro surgical techniques that reduce invasion reduce surgery risk
  9. Heart, cancer risk discovered with hormone replacement therapy
  10. fMRI advances study of brain

Friday, January 01, 2010

Hepatitis A - the common Jaundice

Most of us in India are aware of and have probably been vaccinated against hepatitis B. Given the fact that so many of us are protected from hepatitis B, have you ever wondered why we still have so many cases of jaundice especially in the months of summers and monsoons?
The reason is jaundice due to poor food, water and sanitation, meaning hepatitis A and hepatitis E virus.

The most important thing to realize that taking hepatitis B vaccination will not protect you against these forms of jaundice since they are caused by a different virus.

Today we are going to talk in some more details about Hepatitis A.
Hepatitis means inflammation (swelling) of the liver. While there are many infections that can cause this, in India the commonest cause in children and one of the most common causes in adults is Hepatitis A. Hepatitis A virus is spread from person to person by putting something in the mouth that has been contaminated with the stool of a person with hepatitis A. This type of transmission is called fecal-oral. For this reason, the virus is more easily spread in areas where there are poor sanitary conditions or where good personal hygiene is not observed. Casual contact, as in the usual office, factory, or school setting, does not spread the virus. Persons with hepatitis A virus infection may or may not have any signs or symptoms of the disease. Older persons are more likely to have symptoms than children. If symptoms are present, they usually occur abruptly and may include
• fever,
• tiredness,
• loss of appetite,
• nausea,
• abdominal discomfort,
• dark urine, and
• jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes).
Symptoms usually last less than 2 months; a few persons are ill for as long as 6 months. The average incubation period (i.e., time taken from transmission from one person to the other) for hepatitis A is 28 days (range: 15–50 days).
The diagnosis cannot be made without doing a blood test (IgM Hepatitis A antibody- cost approx. Rs. 600/-), since the symptoms of all types of hepatitis are the same. Other tests like the liver function tests are useful in finding out the extent of the disease. The good news is that once you have the disease, you develop antibodies that provide life-long protection from future infections. After recovering from hepatitis A, you will never get it again and you cannot transmit the virus to others.
Treatment is essentially supportive, and with adequate rest and minimum use of anti-fever and anti – vomiting medicines a patient should generally recover within 15- 30 days. However 15 % of patients (mostly adults) may have a prolonged course of illness lasting even as long as 6-9 months!
Prevention rests on maintaining a good personal hygiene. Always wash your hands after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or before preparing or eating food. Avoid outside food and water especially food that is undercooked/ uncooked (like salad etc.). Since proper food and water in India is still a pipe-dream, a more feasible way is to take the Hepatitis A vaccine. This is a very safe and highly effective vaccine (more than 90 % effective) with no major side-effects. It can be given to anyone above 1 year of age. Two doses are needed for life long protection and these need to be given 6 months apart. The vaccine is effective a month after the first dose is given.
With proper cooking habits, care about water and outside food and proper vaccination at the right time, we can ensure that we do not have to suffer Hepatitis A disease.
Dr. Gaurav Gupta, Consultant Pediatrician, practicing in Charak Clinics, Phase 7, Mohali.