Monday, August 24, 2009

More on H1N1

I received the following email today and found the information pretty useful and interesting. Although I can't confirm the accuracy of the information, I will share it anyway. I have posted the entire email here so please read at your own discretion :-)

For some unknown reasons, I can't put a row between the paragraphs. So it looks kind of cramped up and messy. Sorry about this.

Some tips for prevention from AIMS doctor, although bit lengthy but worth reading.

Thanks to media hype about H1N1, several people who trust me have either approached or called me to advise. The hype in media about the utility of face masks and N95 respirators as a tool for general protection against H1N1 can't be deplored enough. Yesterday, a friend who listened wanted me to write down briefly what I advised so that he could tell others in similar words. Hence this short email to friends whom I have advised recently (and others whom I haven't yet). Please realize that this is not an official advice, especially the one about face masks or N95.

Most N95 respirators are designed to filter 95% particulates of 0.3µ, while the size of H1N1 virus is about 0.1µ. Hence, dependence on N95 to protect against H1N1 is like protecting against rain with an umbrella made of mosquito net.

Tamiflu does not kill but prevents H1N1 from further proliferation till the virus limits itself in about 1-2 weeks (its natural cycle). H1N1, like other Influenza A viruses, only infects the upper respiratory tract and proliferates (only) there. The only portals of entry are the nostrils and mouth/ throat. In a global epidemic of this nature, it's almost impossible not coming into contact with H1N1 in spite of all precautions. Contact with H1N1 is not so much of a problem as proliferation is.

While you are still healthy and not showing any symptoms of H1N1 infection, in order to prevent proliferation, aggravation of symptoms and development of secondary infections, some very simple steps – not fully highlighted in most official communications - can be practiced (instead of focusing on how to stock N95 or Tamiflu):

1. Frequent hand-washing (well highlighted in all official communications).

2. "Hands-off-the-face" approach. Resist all temptations to touch any part of face (unless you want to eat, bathe or slap).

3. Gargle twice a day with warm salt water (use Listerine if you don't trust salt). H1N1 takes 2-3 days after initial infection in the throat/ nasal cavity to proliferate and show characteristic symptoms. Simple gargling prevents proliferation. In a way, gargling with salt water has the same effect on a healthy individual that Tamiflu has on an infected one. Don't underestimate this simple, inexpensive and powerful preventative method.

4. Similar to 3 above, clean your nostrils at least once every day with warm salt water. Not everybody may be good at Jala Neti or Sutra Neti (very good Yoga asanas to clean nasal cavities), but blowing the nose hard once a day and swabbing both nostrils with cotton buds dipped in warm salt water is very effective in bringing down viral population.

5. Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C (Amla and other citrus fruits). If you have to supplement with Vitamin C tablets, make sure that it also has Zinc to boost absorption.

6. Drink as much of warm liquids as you can. Drinking warm liquids has the same effect as gargling, but in the reverse direction. They wash off proliferating viruses from the throat into the stomach where they cannot survive, proliferate or do any harm.

All these are simple ways to prevent, within means of most households, and certainly much less painful than to wait in long queues outside Govt. hospitals.

Happy breathing!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

H1N1, are you scared, yet?

With the news on death and infected rates rising everyday, I am terrified of this deadly virus. Honestly, I wasn't that terrified when it started cause to me it was just another type of cold. In fact I think more people died of dengue than H1N1 BUT seeing how things are handled in our country and how unprofessional some of our health professionals are, I have lost faith. I read in the newspaper almost everyday that people have died because they were not treated on time and how some patients with flu symptoms were refused of the throat swab, how some clinics refused to stock up on Tamiflu because they were too costly and they are concerned that no one would buy them etc.

These news disturbed me. With a little toddler at home who will not wear a face mask even if you force her to and who won't know how to wash her hands properly yet with soap and water, you bet I was concerned.

So I ask myself what can I do to reduce our risks. Inspired by a post I read from Life As A Mummy, I started my effort of prevention by:

1. reducing trips to outdoor - be it playground or shopping malls. If we really have to go, I will bring along hand sanitisers and antibacterial wet wipes.

2. bought a box of face masks just in case as you never know when they will come in handy. With people hoarding the masks, they may run out when you need them so better be prepared than be sorry. Although I read somewhere that face masks are actually useless and in fact they can cause more harm if not properly used, I don't really care. All I know is for the sake of my little girl, I am not taking chances.

3. bought some hand sanitisers - these are useful when you go outdoor especially when you have a little toddler who likes to touch everything and everyone.

4. bought some antibacterial wet wipes - I use them to wipe trolleys, baby chairs, tables etc before I put Hayley in them.

5. washing my hands as frequently as I can and if I have to sneeze, I make sure I cover my mouth with a tissue so I always remind myself to keep a pack of tissue in my handbag or at least a tissue in my pocket.

I really hope the virus would go away soon or the antiviral shot would be available very soon and available to everyone instead to those working on the frontlines and those of high risk groups.

I will be travelling to Singapore on Mon for work and I really dread travelling at times like this. Anyway work is work and I can't run away from my responsibilities. I will make sure I wear a mask and use antibacterial wet wipes very often. Call me kiasu, I don't really care :-)

Doing my bit for the environment

Lately, I have started getting rather serious in doing my bit for the environment. I am not talking about planting more trees or getting a hybrid car. I am not taking a giant leap, instead I am taking baby steps one at a time.

Here are some of the things I started doing. although nothing to shout about but I am sure every little bit will make a huge difference:

1. Using napkins on Hayley instead of disposable diapers on weekends. In the past, I can use up to 5 or 6 disposable diapers a day. Now, I use napkins in the day and only 1 disposable diaper at night. Well, 2 if we go out. I was not able to do this when she was younger as she was breastfed and would poo numerous times a day - they get messy and tough to wash. Over time I got used to the comfort of using disposables. Now, I am back to napkins. I was hoping that she can go on napkins everyday but unfortunately I could not convince the babysitter to do the same (her reasons are she live in a condo and has no place to hang the napkins and she has no time to wash them).

2. Sorting my garbage. I keep the aluminium cans, plastic bottles and papers separate from my other rubbish. I would try to drop them into the recycling boxes (above) at the malls and if I can't, I would make sure they are bundled properly for garbage collectors to pick them up. I have seen these guys sorting the recyclable items before throwing it into the garbage truck.

3. Reducing the use of plastic bags. Although I am not bringing my own bag when I do my grocery shopping, I will make sure I use as little plastic bags as possible. And the plastic bags I brought home would be recycled as my garbage bags. So they are put to good use.

I am a busy mom who needs to manage my career, baby, husband and my home. If I can make a difference by contributing whatever I can, I am sure you can all do it too. Let us do our bit for a better, greener and healthier future for our kids!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Last vaccination - 1st Booster

Hayley had her last jab at 18 months - the 1st Booster. Next will be optional jabs for Hepatitis A at 24 months and 36 months. Not sure if we'll give that to her, will need to think about this one when the time comes but being the kiasu me, I think we will haha.

Just wanted to comment on the service we received at our usual child specialist clinic. Initially we were hesitant whether to bring her to the clinic due to the rise in H1N1 cases. We do not want to bring her to a place where there are lots of sick kids or babies around. In the end, we decided to go ahead but we'll go prepared with all the wipes and sanitisers etc.

We reached there at 8.30am and the Dr Wong hasn't arrived yet. We were number 5. The nurse told us that she will let us jump the queue since we're only there for a jab so we can leave as soon as we are done (happy surprise no 1).

We brought Hayley in to the clinic to get her weight and height measured. At 18 months she was 82.5cm in height and 9.65kg in weight. She is slightly above average on height but below average on weight. At 18 months the average weight should be around 10.5 - 10.8kg. Doctor assured us that there is nothing to worry about as she has always been slow in weight gain and as long as she continues to eat well and gain progressively, we need not worry.

After the weighing and measuring which was done in the reception, we were prepared to go back to the car to wait. The nurses lead us into another room instead. We were quarantined in a room and was told to wait there for Dr Wong. This will be the safe room as we are away from all the sick kids and babies (happy surprise no 2).

While waiting in the room, the nurses measured her head circumference and brought us some toys. Papa, Hayley and me take turns to wash our hands as there was a wash basin in the room. How convenient.

After about 15 mins, the Dr Wong came and very quickly gave her the jab. She very quickly explained that the weight and height seems normal and if there is nothing else, we can leave. Papa carried Hayley straight to the car while I proceeded to the cashier's counter. Normally we'll need to wait for our name to be called to make payment but on that day the cashier was waiting for me instead (happy surprise no 3). What a nice change.

The vaccination cost us RM133. But overall we are quite happy with the effort taken by the clinic to help curb the spread of H1N1.

And we are also happy to report that Hayley didn't get any fever after the jab. Dr Wong said there would be a 10% chance of fever after the 1st Booster.

At 18 months, she can..

  1. put on her own slippers, although at times she still put them on the wrong sides
  2. communicate better. Her vocabulary has improved tremendously. I didn't really count but I think she can say at least about 100 words. Some of the new editions that she picked up are fire, drawing, carrot, hippo, clothes, towel, pants, shirt etc. To my amazement, she can even say 'hir sui' (mandarin for drink water), 'bu yao' (mandarin for NO) and 'si sou' (mandarin for wash hands).

  3. pee when seated on the toilet bowl or potty. We are not potty training her 100% but at least we need not change the diaper as often as before. Hence saving some $ :-)

  4. dip her french fries into the tomato sauce and eat them like an adult

  5. switch on the TV and DVD player whenever she wants to watch her favourite cartoons

  6. roll her tongue or stick it out to tease you

  7. sing along (only selective words) at some of her favourite nursery rhymes

  8. putting back her toys, dolls or tricycle after playing (at times will need to use a cane to make sure it happens)
  9. imitate the things people do on TV, such as roll on the floor, sit down, dance while swaying their hands etc
  10. eat on her own with success rate of about 70% (the remaining 30% would either end up on the floor or the table or on her lap)
  11. start saving for her future :-p

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Malaysia Boleh

My guess is you will only find this in Malaysia.

Go figure if you should stop, go straight or turn right... hahaha. Had a good time laughing eventhough I was waiting for quite a while at the traffic light. It certainly made my day.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I hate Sundays

If today is Sunday, which means tomorrow will be Monday. ARGHHH....... Hate it! Hate it!
- I'll need to wait 5 more days before its weekend again.
- I wont be able to spend more time with my little girl for 5 long days.
- I'll turn into a robot, doing the same routine every weekday.

Sigh, I hate Sundays.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Now I know why..

From babycentre:

" It will be a year or two before your toddler leaves most of his tantrums behind. Until then, expect to deal with outbursts of anger and frustration on a regular basis. You can cut down on the frequency of tantrums by making sure your child gets enough sleep and eats well during the day. It's probably unrealistic to expect your energetic toddler to sit still for three square meals a day, so try giving your child a variety of foods throughout the day. Remember, a hungry, sleep-deprived toddler is a meltdown waiting to happen."

Phew... Am I glad to hear this. I guess I am not the only one experiencing the nightmare of feeding a little toddler as mentioned in my previous blog. Although I know every child is different, I am somewhat relieved that this is considered normal for most child her age (although I don't recall seeing my sister's kids behaving like that).

I guess I need to try to feed her smaller meals more frequently from tomorrow and see how it goes. Good luck to me!

Monday, August 3, 2009

My little monster a picky eater?

My little girl who used to eat whatever she was fed with very quickly is not behaving the same anymore. Of late, she likes to take her own sweet time with her food (except her favourites such as cheese, cornflakes, grapes which she will finish in 5 mins). A bowl of porridge that will usually take her 15 mins or less to finish is now taking 30 mins or more! And mummy is losing her patience.

For some weird reasons she will show keen interest in the food during the 1st few spoons and thereafter she will keep the food in her mouth. I have to constantly remind her to chew and swallow and have to demonstrate until my jaws got tired. Why is she behaving like this? Is this normal? or is she bored with the same usual stuff that I have been feeding her?

Apart from eating so slowly, she's also rejecting green leafy vegetables. Since I started giving her rice with meat and veges, she will spit out the vege or use her fingers to remove them from her mouth. I have so far only given her steam spinach and she dislike it. I have also given her cabbage with no luck. I have tried hiding the veges under the meat or in between the rice but she still figured it out. Luckily she's not making a fuss when I put the veges in her porridge (maybe not yet). How else can I get her to eat green leafy veges?

Lately, I also found her picky when it comes to fruits. When she was younger she enjoyed all sorts of fruits given to her. Now she will react differently towards different fruits. Her current favourites are grapes (her all time favourite), dragon fruit and orange. Fruits such as papaya, mango, strawberry, apple and banana will only be taken when she feels like it. If she doesnt feel like it, she will take a bite and then run away from me.

I also fed her avocadoes with yogurt as she dislike the avocado on its own. I've been giving her this combination for months and lately she's been trying to suck the yogurt from the spoon without eating the avocado. Isn't she cheeky? She's doing the same when she wants the soup without the rice. I wonder where she learnt all these from and although it does look cute and cheeky, it is driving me up the wall!