Baby London September/October 2017

Page 107

HEALTH

CAN YOU TELL ME MORE ABOUT THE BCG VACCINE?

PHOTOGRAPHY: ISTOCK

HOW COULD MY BLOOD GROUP AFFECT MY PREGNANCY? Pregnant women are always given a blood group test. Essentially, there are four main blood types – A, B, AB and O. However, each can either be RhD positive or RhD negative, which means there are eight main blood groups in total. Mixing blood groups can be life-threatening, so you will always receive blood from the same blood group in hospital. In blood group A, for example, there are anti-B antibodies in the plasma, which would attack the cells in blood group B. While more than eight in 10 people in the UK are RhD positive, if a mother is RhD negative but the child inherits an RhD positive blood group from the father, it could cause complications if not treated in a timely manner. It is important to identify at-risk pregnancies early on, so women are usually screened during early pregnancy and again at 28 weeks, regardless of RhD status. If a woman is RhD negative, then there’s a few considerations, such as partner testing, and potential steps that will need to be taken. Anti-D prophylaxis may be administered – which can actually be given to an RhD negative mother following birth to protect future pregnancies, too. Depending on your initial screening results, you may be referred to a specialist clinic for further investigation and detailed antenatal management. It is best to have a clear plan in place for your pregnancy – from the planning stages through to labour and beyond – as each individual will have a completely different circumstance. But there’s no need to worry, if your tests are organised by an experienced professional you will be able to enjoy all the best bits of the next nine months and relax! Dr Anuj Chaturvedi, medical director and GP at HealthClic

The BCG vaccine is a live vaccine against tuberculosis (TB), which can be a serious disease in young children. Studies have shown that immunisation in the first year of life protects against the most severe forms in 70% to 80% of cases. The BCG vaccine is recommended to all babies up to one year who are born in areas of the UK with high rates of TB or who have a parent or grandparent from a high-risk country (see Government TB report 2016:13). In London, areas north of the river Thames are particularly affected. Live vaccines such as MMR should either be given at the same time as the BCG vaccine or at least four weeks after the injection but all routine immunisations in the first year, including the Rotavirus vaccine, can be given. Babies who have a high fever or weakened immune system should not be vaccinated. The vaccine is administered into the skin of the left arm. It leaves a small mark which can develop into a blister after two to six weeks. It heals by itself but usually a small scar remains. The site doesn’t need to be protected during washing. Sometimes a scab appears which might take longer to heal. Small ulcers should be kept dry and exposed to air; otherwise it might not heal properly. Occasionally, the axillary lymph nodes can swell after the injection. Immunity is reached after six weeks. Dr Sophie Niedermaier MD, consultant paediatrician at Richmond Practice

WE’RE GOING ON HOLIDAY THIS MONTH AND OUR VILLA HAS A POOL. WHAT CAN WE DO TO ENSURE OUR 18-MONTH OLD STAYS SAFE? Eighteen months is a great age to encourage your child to enjoy swimming, and it’s lovely to have a pool to relax in when on holiday. But fearless little ones don’t understand the potential dangers – they are likely to find the water irresistible – so you will need to remain vigilant at all times. Drowning can happen quickly and often silently, without any obvious struggle. In fact, a child can drown in just 2cm of water. Ensure you are prepared with the necessary skills to help your child if they have a near-drowning experience. Ensure your child is always supervised in or near the water. Never rely on a buoyancy aid or inflatable, and never leave your child on their own around the pool. Also remember that the sun’s rays are magnified by water, so be sure to reapply sun cream regularly when swimming, and keep your little one out of the midday sun. Swim suits with built-in sun resistance are a great idea, and waterproof hats and tops will also protect your child’s delicate skin. Beach shoes are good for protecting little one’s feet, especially if you decide to spend the day at the beach. Emma Hammett, founder of First Aid for Life

OUR PANEL

Emma Hammett

Dr Anuj Chaturvedi

Dr Shazia Malik

Dr Sophie Niedermaier MD

firstaidforlife or u

healthclic.co.uk

theportlandhospital.com

richmondpractice.co.uk

babylondon.co.uk | SEPT/OCT 2017 | 107