Emergency paediatrics involves caring for a range of acute paediatric conditions such as pneumonia, gastroenteritis, cardiac decompensation, neuro infections and paediatric infectious diseases.
Pneumococcus, bacterial pneumonia, is a common cause for most cases of pneumonia. Irritants enter the lungs and overwhelm the immune system, causing the delicate lung tissue to become infected. The lung's air sacs become full with fluid resulting in coughing, phlegm and breathing problems. Viral pneumonia is common in children under five, and vaccines are usually administered to reduce the risk of viral or bacterial pneumonia.
Acute and chronic bronchitis
Acute bronchitis caused by viruses clears up within several days, but a cough can linger a few days after the infection has cleared. Viruses causing flu and cold results in acute bronchitis and spreads when the infected child touches surfaces, hugs other children or coughs or sneezes without covering their mouth. Antibiotics treat acute bronchitis caused by a bacterial infection. Still, acute viral bronchitis is treated with rest, fluids, natural cough suppressants and a humidifier that opens up the airways and reduces wheezing. Chronic conditions such as bronchitis as a result of long-term exposure to irritants is recurring until exposure to dust, tobacco smoke or air pollution is reduced.
Gastroenteritis, common among children, becomes concerning when the child becomes dehydrated from fluid loss through diarrhoea and vomiting. Neonates often display symptoms of being unusually thirsty, having semi-wet nappies as well as dry skin and lips. Viral gastroenteritis is common and highly contagious among children and quickly spreads in daycare centres. Bacterial gastroenteritis caused by Salmonella, E.coli or Campylobacter spreads by drinking contaminated fluids or eating infected food. Children often catch gastroenteritis by playing or swimming in contaminated public areas.
A viral or bacterial infection migrates into the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF), a liquid that cushions the spinal cord and brain inflaming the thin membranes termed the meninges, causing meningitis, a neuro infection in children. A child can carry viruses, bacteria or fungi, causing meningitis from their respiratory tracts in their mouth or nose and often spreads by touching surfaces, doorknobs and toys.
The doctor uses a lumbar puncture or spinal test to diagnose meningitis. It involves inserting a needle into the lower back into the spinal canal to measure the pressure in the brain and spinal canal. Dr Jiyana extracts a sample of cerebral spinal fluid to detect signs of infection from meningitis.
Acute cardiac decompensation
Heart failure is associated with congenital heart disease and cardiomyopathy in newborn babies. Acute cardiac decompensation arises from a change in the function of the heart due to its inability to accommodate blood within pressure levels resulting in decreased functionality. As a paediatric cardiologist, Dr Jiyana treats acute cardiac decompensation in neonates using intravenous diuretics, inotropic agents and vasodilators.