Love also means keeping them safe.
Advances in maternal-infant health are one of the greatest success stories of the 20th century, with a drop in the death rate of 99%. But some of those dangers only stay in the past through constant vigilance. Behind every screening test and preventive measure is a careful, research-driven rationale. Here are seven newborn tests, screenings, and prevention measures you should know about:
Vitamin K injection
Vitamin K is vital for blood to clot properly. Newborns cannot make Vitamin K and it is poorly transferred in breast milk. Without this injection, babies are at risk for spontaneous bleeding from the umbilical cord, mucus membranes, even in the brain. Giving Vitamin K has greatly reduced this "hemorrhagic disease of the newborn," but rates are increasing as more parents refuse it. Oral Vitamin K has not been shown to prevent this potentially devastating disease.
Hepatitis B vaccine
This is an anti-cancer vaccine. Before this vaccine existed, approximately 10,000 kids under age 10 contracted hepatitis B each year. Most had no known exposure to it. Kids are more likely than adults to get very sick and to have complications. Vaccination at birth has greatly reduced rates of pediatric liver cancer due to hepatitis B.
Antibiotic eye ointment
This prevents bacterial eye infections. Some of these infections are associated with sexually transmitted bacteria, but not all of them are. Negative testing or a monogamous relationship does not ...
Break out the champagne and streamers—it’s World Hepatitis Day! Okay, so it might not sound like much of party, but if you are one of the millions of people with viral Hepatitis there is no reason to be a wallflower.
Over 500 million people around the world are infected with either Hepatitis B or C, the two most common forms of chronic viral Hepatitis. Both Hepatitis B and C are viruses that can cause chronic inflammation in the liver. Over the course of years this can lead to scarring in the liver and ultimately cirrhosis—severe scarring and fibrosis of the liver where liver function can be comprised. Additionally, these chronic viruses, particularly Hepatitis B, can increase the risk of developing a primary cancer of the liver called hepatocellular cancer. The liver, unlike, say, the appendix, is a vital organ that—among other functions—stores and helps process nutrients, detoxifies and filters blood, and produces blood coagulants. In short, the liver is vital to life and a failing liver absent a liver transplant means trouble.
The best first step to combating these viruses is awareness. It is important to know the risk factors for these viruses and get tested if you are at risk. Hepatitis B and C differ somewhat in risk factors and transmission. With an estimated 350 million people worldwide who are carriers (most commonly in Asia and Africa), chronic Hepatitis B is the most common chronic virus of the liver. It is most often transmitted by birth or through blood-borne or sexual contact. Hepatitis B is not transmitted through ....