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By Tonia Buzzolini*

As every parent knows, kids and sniffles go together like toast and Vegemite (and can be just as messy!).

But, having to cope with a sniffling, miserable child for hours on end during  a long flight is no-one’s idea of family fun. Not to mention the very real prospect of upsetting fellow passengers.

The solution (literally) is saline solution.

These over-the-counter preparations come in two forms – drops or spray mist – and are simply sodium chloride (common salt) in sterile water.

Very small kids can’t blow their nose. A couple of drops or a squirt or two of saline loosens mucous and allows it to flow.

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By Tonia Buzzolini*

My kids, Giacomo and Kiara love animals, especially dogs. Here they are with Aramis, our big, boofy Doberman, who they adore.
Which makes it very difficult to convince them that they can’t pat dogs – even cute little puppies – when we holiday overseas.
Why do I worry about my children around dogs? Rabies.
Rabies occurs just about everywhere and, if left untreated, is virtually always fatal. The vast majority of deaths are caused by dogs, although cats, bats and other mammals are capable to being infected and passing on the deadly virus to people.
When an animal gets rabies the virus is carried in their saliva. When it bites another animal or a person, the virus passes into the wound and travels via nerve fibres to the brain, causing irreversible brain damage. Less commonly, infection can also occur from a scratch if the animal’s paw is contaminated with its saliva, or by licking a wound or the victim’s mucous membranes (i.e. their eyes, nose or mouth).

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Most parents know hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) as a virus that affects infants and young children. Outbreaks are commonplace in kindergartens and childcare centres the world over. The virus gets its name from the non-itchy rash and blisters that develop on the palms of the hands and soles of feet, which can be painful when touched. Tiny ulcers with red, raw edges may also appear on the throat, tongue, tonsils and mouth.

Fortunately, for most kids the symptoms of HFMD illness are usually short-lived and mild – a fever, headache, loss of appetite, and a sore throat.
But, there's been a worrying recent development throughout Asia and the Pacific – including Australia – with the appearance of C4a, a genogroup of a HFMD strain called human enterovirus 71 (EV71). The strain can result in more severe illness, including rare but potentially fatal cases of meningitis or encephalitis.
EV71, which was first identified in Cambodia, is now the principal strain across Asia, where it occurs mainly between April and July. Epidemics have resulted in millions of cases and hundreds of deaths in recent years in China, Vietnam, Japan, Macao, Hong Kong and Singapore, according to the WHO.
In its May 29 update, the WHO said cases are now increasing in Asia.

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