Prevention and early diagnosis of melanoma: Body mole map

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in ALL ABOUT CANCER, dermatology | Posted on23-10-2017

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New advances in technology have always been a powerful medical tool, now one of these, the mole mapping technique, is using digital photography to assist with diagnosis. The mole map covers the patient’s total surface area of the skin enabling doctors to examine and log skin abnormalities (shape, size, location and colour) in detail. Every detail matters, a digital map of the patient’s body is obtained, which is then periodically repeated and stored, enabling dermatologists to analyse and contrast changes in blemishes, moles and other skin lesions, constantly alert to any alterations.

Benefits of body mole mapping

Using the test the dermatologist is able to obtain an accurate and complete map of the skin, he/she can then periodically and systemically review anything which requires particular attention, analysing and contrasting any variations that occur. This is advantageous for the patient since this analysis prevents unnecessary biopsies or excision of benign lesions and, in addition, facilitates the early detection and treatment of malignant lesions or melanomas, offering a higher recovery rate.

This method also makes it easier to discover moles in areas which are difficult for the doctor or patient to see, such as the scalp, behind the ears or on the back, etc.

Am I able to have a body mole map?

If you are wondering whether a mole map is appropriate for you, please note that it is suitable for everyone, but it is particularly indicated for people with atypical skin lesions, multiple moles or a family history of skin cancer. It is a simple and painless test with high quality photographs taken of skin lesions all over the body. The test is repeated after a reasonable amount of time with overlapping of the images to detect any changes, these are subsequently given to our specialists for study and treatment.

A dermatologist is responsible for planning the mole map for each patient. Generally, an annual mole map is recommended, but in some particularly sensitive cases, it may be necessary every 6 or even every 3 months.

You can depend on Vithas Xanit International Hospital’s Dermatology Department to resolve any queries you may have, please request your appointment online.

Computer screens and eyesight

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in Ophthalmology | Posted on23-10-2017

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“Don’t get so close to the screen, you’re going to damage your eyes.” This is one of the phrases most repeated by parents when they see the children spending hours and hours in front of a screen.  It used to be a television, now it’s a computer or mobile phone.

With Dr. Cilveti, Head of the Department of Ophthalmology at Vithas Xanit International Hospital we are going to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about the effect that continuous exposure to audio-visual devices can have on eyesight.

What damage can be caused by too much time in front of a computer?

Although it has been demonstrated that usage does not result in damage to the retina or the cornea, it does however cause tiredness and a certain amount of visual discomfort. When sight is continuously focused on a screen, blinking frequency is decreased, this in turn can cause dry eyes.

What are your recommendations for those who spend more than 8 hours in front of a computer?

There are people who have to spend long days in front of a screen for work or other reasons. In these cases, a rest for 2-3 minutes every 45 minutes would be an appropriate suggestion.

Regular use of artificial tears is also recommended to help keep eyes comfortable.

What happens to our eyes when focusing on a computer or mobile screen?

Using screens continuously, whether computer, tablet or mobile, causes eye strain, this manifests itself as eye discomfort which can sometimes be accompanied by red or dry eyes or even by generalised symptoms such as headache, nausea, dizziness, etc.

These symptoms can be worse if the user has uncorrected, or poorly corrected refraction defects, abnormal binocular vision or eye movement or if regularly taking psychotropic drugs.

Do symptoms worsen with age?

All symptoms caused by exposure to screens worsen with the passage of time, but not due to the cumulative effect of use of the computer or other device, but because the coping mechanisms of the eye – for example response to dryness or changes in focus – become weaker.

Can too many hours a day in front of the computer result in needing glasses for reading or carrying out other activities?

This is a controversial topic. In general, it appears that computer use, even when excessive, is not capable of generating new refractive problems. However, it appears that it can cause refractive abnormalities to surface, which until that moment the eye had been capable of compensating for. When the refractive defect manifests itself, the patient starts to need eye correction.

This leads on to the topic of so-called, “computer glasses.” These are a type of glasses used to resolve a problem mainly originating from eye strain in computer users during their usual work. It is the result of having to constantly move focus from mid distance at 60-70 cm to near vision of 30 cm.

This repeated change in focus requires the eyeball’s accommodation system to work continuously resulting in so-called eye strain. This process, associated with sustained changes in focus, is especially symptomatic in patients with uncorrected sight defects, latent hypermetropia or in normal sighted patients very close to the age at when presbyopia starts, that is to say in those over the age of 40. In these cases, after an individual assessment of each patient, computer glasses may be beneficial.

Childhood vaccination? A response from the experts

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in Pediatrics | Posted on23-10-2017

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Vaccination yes, no…? When? How many? The vaccination process poses many questions for parents. For this reason we are talking to Dr Conejo, Paediatrician at Vithas Xanit International Hospital, who is going to help dispel some of the most common myths surrounding the subject.

Firstly, the big question:

What are vaccines?

To explain: they are biological products given with the objective of producing a controlled immune response, similar to that produced by a natural infection, but with practically no risk. They are therefore a way of providing protection against certain microorganisms in case of future exposure.

It is important to bear in mind that vaccines are not 100% effective; in some cases, depending on the type of vaccine, it is possible to have an infection from a microorganism even after a vaccine has been given. In such cases vaccination usually achieves development of much milder symptoms than if the disease had been caught without prior vaccination.

Why do children have to be vaccinated?

The development of vaccines has made it possible to absolutely control many of the infectious diseases that have been responsible for the greatest mortality throughout history, including measles, chickenpox, diphtheria, rabies, tetanus… Nowadays all these infectious diseases have been relegated to isolated cases, the majority occurring in countries with weak vaccination policies and vaccine coverage. Smallpox is notably an infection which it has been possible to completely eradicate from the planet. Others, such as poliomyelitis, are now also very close to being eradicated.

It is known that there are many viruses which are strongly implicated in some types of cancer, therefore vaccination against these can protect against the development of associated tumours. For example the hepatitis B virus is related to the development of liver cancer, and the human papilloma virus is related to many cervical, penile, anal and ENT cancers.

Additionally the protective effect of the vaccine can extend to unvaccinated people as a result of the decreased circulation of the microorganism amongst the vaccinated population. This is known as community or herd immunity, and can benefit individuals who cannot be vaccinated directly due to specific circumstances.

Do vaccines have side effects?

As with all biological or pharmaceutical products, vaccines can have adverse effects, however they are generally mild and well tolerated, on very rare occasions they can be serious.

The most common are pain and swelling at the site where the vaccine has been given. Systemic adverse reactions are much less frequent and are often milder. Amongst the most common are general malaise, anorexia (loss of appetite) and fever.

When should I vaccinate my child?

There are different established vaccination schedules which clearly specify the ideal ages for the administration of each vaccine. The most comprehensive calendar in our country is that developed annually by the Spanish Paediatric Association’s Vaccine Advisory Committee.

However, in practice the calendar which is applied and funded throughout Spain, and recommended by the different Spanish autonomous communities, is based on the schedule presented by the Interterritorial Council.  Both schedules, that of the Advisory Committee (ideal) and of the Interterritorial Council (financed), have become increasingly similar thanks to a great joint effort in recent years, although there are still some vaccines recommended by the Advisory Committee which are not recognised in official schedules.

Is there any reason not to vaccinate my child?

Vaccines, like other medical products, have permanent, absolute contraindications to their administration in some people. However there are only two absolute contraindications: allergy to any of the vaccine components (or anaphylactic reaction to a previous dose) and encephalopathy of unknown origin, developed in the 7 days following administration of any vaccine with a whooping cough component. In this last case, the contraindication only affects vaccines with the whooping cough component, all other vaccines can be given as usual.

There are also some temporary contraindications which mean the vaccine should not be given during a determined period of time, although it can be given once the situation in question has been resolved. Included in this temporary group are pregnancy and temporary immunosuppression in the case of live attenuated vaccines. There is also a contraindication in those suffering from moderate or serious intercurrent illness. Mild illnesses such as common colds, mild bronchitis or low grade febrile illnesses, viral in origin, do not constitute a contraindication to the administration of any vaccine, therefore vaccination should not be delayed in respect to the established schedule.

What happens if vaccination is delayed?

Except for a few, specific vaccines which are given under exceptional circumstances, there is no maximum interval for the different doses of the same vaccine, applying the general principle that if a dose has been given the dose is counted. According to the age of the patient and the type of vaccine, vaccination should be completed with a determined number of doses, the doses administered should always be considered as such under any circumstances.

However, the recommended intervals between vaccines should be adhered to whenever possible, having been well researched.

Any special measures for premature babies?

Premature children are especially vulnerable to infection as a consequence of their immature immune system, therefore optimisation of vaccination in this population is of paramount importance.

As a general rule, the same vaccines should be administered and with the same prescription as for full-term infants, always taking into account the chronological age and not the corrected age of the child. The only exception is Hepatitis B vaccination in children under 2000 g born to a mother with Hepatitis B, these babies need to have an extra dose of the vaccine during the first 12 hours of life, together with the specific immunoglobulin, with the objective of preventing the infection.

With regard to vaccines not included in the funded schedule, the rotavirus vaccine particularly is recommended (from 25 weeks of gestational age) and the influenza vaccination from 6 months of chronological age.

Intimate hygiene tips for summer sports

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in women's health | Posted on25-09-2017

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Intimate hygiene tips sports

Women are becoming more and more concerned about their health and personal care, now that summer has arrived, increased enjoyment of sports has added to the equation. Sport improves mood, increases respiratory capacity and brings numerous health benefits… It therefore plays an important role not only in preserving well-being and preventing disease and injury, but also in improving self-image.

Thus summer is a key time for exercising body and mind, with the number of people participating in sporting activities increased; but exercise needs to be performed differently to during winter in order to prevent problems such as heat stroke and infection.

With this in mind, one factor which concerns women most when playing sports is intimate hygiene. Dr Esperanza Martín, Head of the Gynaecology Department at Vithas Xanit International Hospital, provides some straight forward tips for personal, intimate hygiene during and after sporting activities.

Importance of intimate feminine hygiene when practising sports

Maintenance of appropriate, intimate hygiene helps to prevent gynaecological conditions, including infections. The following is helpful advice:

  • Change tampons every two to three hours.
  • Use soap which is appropriate for intimate hygiene, soap which preserves the acidic pH of the vulval and perineal area and which cleans efficiently but hydrates, helping to prevent infections.
  • Do not use vaginal douches as they alter the protective balance of the vagina and can push germs towards the uterus.
  • Dry with a towel which is for personal use only and keep it clean.
  • Do not use panty liners daily. Only use them when really necessary as they increase humidity in the vulval area which can lead to infections.
  • Do not stay in a damp swimsuit after sporting activities in the pool; wash it at the end of the activity as dampness can lead to urinary infections.
  • Do not use intimate deodorant.
  • Use unperfumed hygienic wipes with no additives which may irritate.
  • Wash hands before and after going to the bathroom.
  • Attend medical check-ups and gynaecological check-ups regularly.

Follow these simple recommendations when practising sports and intimate hygiene will not be a problem this summer. Now there is no excuse for not exercising the body…. or the mind.

Skin care in summer

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in dermatology | Posted on25-09-2017

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The sun, the heat, the beach, together the combination can have dramatic effects on the body. For this reason we need to take special care of our skin during summer, the time of year when we are encouraged to spend most of our time outdoors.

Below Dr Enrique Herrera Acosta, Head of the Dermatology Department at Vithas Xanit Hospital, gives us a few tips.

Foods which help to protect the skin

There is no doubt that a varied and balanced diet, based on fresh, seasonable produce, including vegetables, fruit and fish, helps to keep the body strong and healthy and therefore, also contributes to a healthy skin. Drinking plenty of water is essential.

Swimming pools and beaches, how can they affect the skin?

Skin care in summer is vitally important at the beach or at the pool, sunscreen is a priority:

  • It should be applied 30 minutes before leaving the house and renewed every two hours afterwards, it is also necessary on cloudy days.
  • It is best to avoid sun exposure between 12 midday and 4 in the afternoon, and avoid spending hours at a time in the sun. Every precaution should be taken with children and the elderly, or those with very sensitive skin.

Regarding the pool, some of the products used to maintain the standard of swimming pool water can cause skin reactions in certain people, it is important to consult a dermatologist if this occurs.

Taking note of the appearance of blemishes or moles is essential, observing for worrying signs: asymmetry, changes in the edges, colour, diameter, growth… If you notice changes in shape or colour, or have any discomfort or pain, you should make an appointment with a Dermatologist immediately; there is no good reason to wait, but every reason to act as soon as possible.

The importance of sleep on the skin during summer

Whilst we are sleeping, skin regenerates and rests after spending the day dealing with UV radiation, air conditioning, pollution and other daily “challenges.” As a general recommendation at least 7 hours’ sleep is advisable and whilst on the theme of skin care, it is important to sleep with the skin clean and moisturised. There are many products, creams, serum, tonics which can be used, but the special characteristics of each skin type need be taken into account alongside recommendations from Aesthetic Dermatology Specialists.

How can we fight the sun?

As well as never forgetting sunscreen, there is a greater need for skin protection measures such as hats, caps, sunglasses and appropriate clothing in summer, fundamental for improved UV protection.

Remember that not all clothes offer the same protection against the effects of the sun. Shirts and other fine materials may be made of a more breathable fabric, but may not provide enough protection. Ideally at times of high exposure, specifically designed tops or dark coloured, cotton shirts (such as T-shirts or polos) should be worn.

 

In a nutshell: sun yes, but in summer (especially) skin care as well. Don’t forget!!

Tips and recommendations for exercise during summer

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in women's health | Posted on22-09-2017

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recommendations for exercise

In the summer months our bodies have to cope with high temperatures. It’s the time of year when playing sports or doing any form of exercise can pose a much greater challenge. Today, Dr Gomez Doblas, Head of the Heart Centre at Vithas Xanit International Hospital answers some of our most common queries regarding exercising during summer, and provides a few tips to allow us to play sport without risking our health at this time of year.

What time is it best to exercise?

In summer we should avoid the hottest time of day. The ideal time is first thing in the morning or in the late evening. The ideal time, and probably the freshest time of day, is between 7:30 and 9 am.

What type of clothing is recommended for summer exercise?

It is important to wear lightweight, light coloured, clothing to reflect the heat. Cotton clothes can also help with evaporation of perspiration. It is possible to buy clothes at specialist shops which are specifically designed to avoid the heat. Also if playing sport in the sun it is very important to apply sunscreen.

How are dehydration and heat stroke avoided?

This is straight forward, drink plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise. Drinking water at regular intervals, even when not thirsty, is recommended.  It is important not only to replace water but also to replace the electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, which we lose through perspiration. Drinks containing electrolytes, which have been specially designed for drinking whilst active, are ideal. If it is very sunny it is important to cover your head with a cap or similar. When exercising the best advice is to look for areas which are in the shade. If there are high levels of pollution, as can happen in some large cities, sporting activities should be avoided.

What type of exercise is advisable during summer?

Aerobic exercise is always best, especially when it is very hot. It is essential to avoid high risk activities such as mountaineering at this time, the heat can cause dizziness which may lead to a fall and severe injury.

Nutrition, another thing to bear in mind…

A balanced diet including a high intake of fruit and vegetable is essential. Eating only a small amount prior to exercise is recommended whilst maintaining fluid intake with drinks such as natural fruit juices. Eating foods which contain electrolytes such as potassium and sodium is also advisable, fruits, such as bananas, can provide us with these.

There is no reason not to exercise during summer, but it should always be in moderation, early in the day and with the necessary equipment. Remember to always take a bottle of water!

Your eyes and chlorine

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in Ophthalmology | Posted on11-09-2017

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Your eyes and chlorine

During summer there is no better place to be than in a swimming pool. High temperatures and holidays encourage us to spend more time soaking in the pool to cope with the heat and cool down our bodies. But this type of water has drawbacks, one of them being the treatment required to keep the condition of the pool perfect throughout the summer. We are, of course, talking about chlorine, a potent disinfectant which keeps our pools clean but which affects our eyes. How? Dr Cilveti, Head of the Ophthalmology Department at our hospital explains.

The chlorine added to pool water eliminates the germs which cause contamination. Its ability to act as a disinfectant agent is achieved by mixing with the water and forming hydrochloric acid and hypochlorous acid, the latter being the disinfectant, oxidising the walls of bacteria and destroying them.

The mixture of hypochlorous acid and products which contain nitrogen, such as perspiration and urine (both frequently found in swimming pools), as well as other chemical products such as deodorant, creams, etc. form chloramines. Chloramines have no disinfectant capability and are highly irritating to the eyes and even the skin.

Chloramines are therefore the main irritant to the eyes in swimming pools, they become more abundant with less careful use of the pool. The amount of chlorine used is also significant, if the amount of chlorine is excessive, the concentration of hypochlorous acid and hydrochloric acid will be high and, therefore, the pH excessively acidic, this can also be a source of irritation and redness.

On the other hand, if chlorine concentration is low, the bacterial contamination of the water will be increased, this can also sometimes cause eye problems, including for example, conjunctivitis of infectious origin with the resulting conjunctival redness and irritation.

So how can I protect my eyes in the pool?

The best protection is maintaining optimal chlorination of the pool and making sure there are no products there capable of giving rise to chloramines. For this reason a proper shower is essential before getting into and after getting out of the pool. If you are going to dive or swim under the water it is advisable to wear goggles.

Contact lenses should not be used in the swimming pool due to the increased risk of serious corneal infections. The use of artificial tears is also recommended after getting out of the pool, they have a cleansing effect on the surface of the eye.

Swimming pool conjunctivitis can affect children and adults, however, it is more common in children as they are usually less careful. Children are also more predisposed to certain eye infections that can be contracted in the pool.

To relieve irritation it is important not to fall into the trap of self-medicating and confusing irritant conjunctivitis with infectious conjunctivitis, the infectious type needs to be assessed by a doctor and specific treatment prescribed. To differentiate one from the other, note whether or not there are any secretions and if so what they are like. If the irritation and redness is accompanied by secretions (a crust) which are yellowish or greenish, advice should be sought from a doctor.

If eyes are stinging but are simply red and watery they can be treated with cold artificial tears and increased hygiene measures.

Problems caused by chlorine, symptoms and tips for avoiding them

  • Very often non-specific irritant conjunctivitis is caused by chlorine, especially its derivatives as previously mentioned.
  • Bacterial conjunctivitis predominantly produces thick and dirty looking secretions.
  • Viral conjunctivitis usually presents with very severe reddening and secretions which can be variable in appearance.
  • Allergic conjunctivitis is less frequent in this case.
  • Much less frequently keratitis can develop, on rare occasions caused by protozoa such as amoeba, which can be extraordinarily dangerous to sight. Fortunately this is very uncommon in our environment, but consideration should be given to this when those who wear contact lenses have been swimming in very hot or tropical countries, especially in places with natural, and therefore non-chlorinated, fresh water.

The main symptoms are usually reddening, stinging, itching, a feeling of something in the eye and photophobia. Different types of secretions may be present with the eyelids stuck together first thing in the morning. The majority of cases only produce mild redness. If symptoms involve more than just reddening, you should always consult a doctor. Symptoms including pain and/or any alteration in sight should be symptoms for alarm!

The best way to avoid damaging our eyes is to use common sense. We should not expose our eyes to overly chlorinated, cloudy or dirty swimming pool water. When swimming in the sea we must avoid areas where there is floating debris and be careful with stagnant freshwater when there is little or no flow. If in doubt it is better to avoid swimming or to wear goggles. A good shower is recommended after swimming to remove traces of pool water from the eyelashes and eyelids.

Although not directly related to this matter, wearing sunglasses as much as possible is essential during summer to protect ourselves from harmful UV radiation. We need to remember that children should also wear appropriate sunglasses. It is important to bear in mind that in childhood the retina suffers from sun damage just as much as the skin does, and we continue adding to this throughout our lives every time we are exposed to the sun. As regards eyesight, the sun is an important factor in the development of AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration), a disease which is becoming more and more common.

It is possible to enjoy the pool in complete safety, with no ill effects on our body. We simply need to follow these recommendations and remember to go to see a specialist in the event that we develop any problems with our eyes after spending a day at the pool.

Healthy eating during summer

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in Various | Posted on11-09-2017

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Healthy eating during summer

Summer is holiday time, a time for enjoying the sun, the beach and the open air. The resulting increase in social events and never ending changes in routine alter our eating habits, including the times we eat, the temperature of the environment and our whole attitude to food.

This has an effect on our digestive system, frequently eating out in bars and restaurants leads to eating foods we might not usually eat.

Today our dietitian, Rafael Estrada, provides a few tips on preventing problems with our digestive system whilst on holiday, so we can enjoy ourselves throughout summer.

It is essential to be careful with certain foods at this time of year and to be vigilant with food quality to prevent conditions which could make us feel unwell (gastroenteritis, viruses…). Physical exercise at the beginning or the end of the day is still important, and helps us to keep in shape during summer.

To maintain a healthy routine during the holiday period it is best to avoid certain foods, particularly very processed foods.  It is also important to be careful where we buy our food and where we eat, selecting produce carefully and only eating in places we trust. Avoidance of alcohol and keeping hydrated with appropriate fluids are very important, mineral water is always the best option.

Eating a variety of seasonal fruit and vegetables, without overindulging in red meat and other meat products, is recommended. The Nutrition Department at Vithas Xanit International’s advice is to follow a varied diet and stick to fresh produce, as well as enjoying traditional, Mediterranean cooking to create healthy meals (salmorejo, ajo blanco…). Overeating should be avoided and is a mistake, only eat when hungry and stop when full.

Precautions and common mistakes

Daily physical exercise, sleeping well and avoiding unpasteurised egg or dairy products are some of the most effective solutions for avoiding gastrointestinal problems in summer.

Being too relaxed and carefree when on holiday are common mistakes, relaxing on holiday should not lead to eating what we want, when we want, we should always choose the most healthy foods available, and eat as little processed food as possible.

Ultimately we should eat a varied diet, in reasonable quantities, and continue with our usual dietary routine throughout the summer, including eating seasonal produce and avoiding processed foods as much as possible. Eat out, but choose where you go and what you eat wisely. Your stomach will thank you!

10 common beliefs about Anaemia

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in Various | Posted on22-05-2017

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Throughout the years, a few old wives’ tales have developed around anaemia, but not everything you might have heard is true. Today with the help of Dr. Gutiérrez de Guzmán, Head of the Haematology Department at Vithas Xanit we are going to investigate to see whether there is any truth to them or not.

  1. Anaemia is a disease:

False. Anaemia is not be a disease in itself, but a symptom which can be the result of many causes. Anaemia describes a low level of Haemoglobin in the blood. Haemoglobin is a protein in the red cells which is responsible for transporting oxygen to the cells throughout the body.

  1. If I eat foods which are high in iron, this will prevent anaemia:

False. Iron deficiency anaemia is the most frequent anaemia, but there are many more anaemias where not only is iron not needed, but taking it can even be dangerous. Iron should never be taken without a prior diagnosis.

  1. Obese people do not develop anaemia:

False. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to be obese, or even very obese and be anaemic. What we eat is much more important than how much we eat. The fact that a person who is overweight can be anaemic is a frequent surprise for families.

  1. There are foods which are especially high in Iron:

True. There are many foods which are particularly high in iron. These are for example:

  • Seafood: clams, cockles, and in smaller quantity muscles and sardines.
  • Animal produce: liver, red meat and game birds such as partridge and quail.
  • Vegetarian produce: Broad beans, spinach, chard, lentils and other pulses.
  • Nuts: Pistachio nuts.
  1. Vegetarian diets cause some types of anaemia:

True. Nevertheless, stopping consumption of animal products does not mean iron deficiency anaemia necessarily develops more easily. As stated previously there are many vegetables with a high iron content. As far as fruit is concerned, peach, figs and strawberries also contain iron.

Vegetarians are however at a higher risk of suffering from deficiency anaemias caused by a lack of vitamins such as folic acid or vitamin B12.

  1. Geographical situation influences haemoglobin levels:

True. The climate does not affect the development of anaemia, but the height above sea level where you live does affect your level of haemoglobin, although not whether you are anaemic or not.

At sea level the oxygen concentration in the air is greater, therefore less haemoglobin is required for its transport than for example, high mountainous regions like Sierra Nevada. It is for this reason that elite athletes go to train at high altitude for a period of time each year. Whilst at altitude in the mountains their level of haemoglobin increases so that when they compete at sea level they have greater oxygen capacity and can therefore perform better.

  1. Menstruation can cause anaemia:

True. Heavy periods can cause anaemia. Women of child bearing age are one group who are most susceptible to developing anaemia. Every month menstruation causes an extra loss of iron in women of childbearing age. A large amount of iron is also transferred to the newborn during pregnancy and breast feeding (however little the mother has, nature takes care of the baby first). This can sometimes cause iron deficiency in the mother.

  1. Stress can cause the appearance of anaemia:

False. Stress has no direct relation to the development of anaemia, but it is related to the increase in other haematological diseases such as lymphoma.

  1. Pale skin is a symptom of anaemia:

False.  It can be one of the signs of anaemia and can be a consequence of decreased concentration of haemoglobin in the blood, however it can also be caused by lack of sun exposure or be the result of genetics. Through a simple blood test, known as “full blood count,” we can check the number and size of the red blood cells as well as the haemoglobin level.

  1. Anaemia shouldn’t be given any great significance:

False.  Even moderate anaemia reduces the quality of life for those who suffer from it. It can also be the first symptom of a disease. On the other hand, severe anaemia, especially if it develops suddenly, can compromise the function of the heart, the kidneys and other organs even to the point of being life threatening.

Now you know more about anaemia, we would like to repeat the same advice we always give, even at the risk of sounding annoying: if you have a problem, please go and see your doctor and please don’t believe everything you read on the internet.

 

Which vaccines does my child need? Paediatrician’s recommendations

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in Pediatrics | Posted on02-03-2017

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We understand the importance of your child’s health, as parents it is what worries us the most. Disease prevention is essential for your child to be able to lead a healthy life and the most effective way of protecting children from possible infectious diseases is vaccination.

In this post we will review all the vaccines that your child will need including those which are in the Spanish Association of Paediatrics’ vaccination schedule 2017 as well as those that are not.

This schedule establishes the age and the dose for each vaccine. In it we can see that the recommended vaccines are divided into funded and non-funded.

Let’s have a look at the vaccination chart:

  • Funded Vaccines. These are those which all children in Spain receive and they are free. They include the following: hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, Haemophilus influenzae type B, meningococcus C, pneumococcus, mumps, measles and rubella, chicken pox and human papilloma virus (for girls only).

In addition to these, children in Catalonia, Ceuta and Melilla are also vaccinated against hepatitis A.

 

  • Non-funded vaccines. These are those which are not included in the public health schedule, therefore they are not free and must be paid for by the patient. However the Spanish Association of Paediatrics’ Advisory Committee on Vaccines (CAV-AEP) considers it appropriate that all children receive them. The vaccines which qualify include the rotavirus and meningococcus B for babies and tetravalent meningitis vaccine in adolescents.

 

Remember that the paediatrician is the expert who should assess each case, therefore in addition to these general recommendations, there are many situations in which the schedule should be individualised due to personal circumstances.

 

The non-funded vaccines are discussed below in detail. Which are they and what are they for?

  • Rotavirus vaccine:

Rotavirus is the main cause of childhood gastroenteritis. It is also the cause of more serious symptoms, which can cause dehydration and other associated disorders in babies and young children.

This vaccine has shown to be extraordinarily effective in reducing the number and seriousness of infections due to the rotavirus, therefore avoiding hospitalisation, days of absenteeism from work and school etc, as well as preventing other pathological conditions in which this virus is implicated.

 

  • Meningococcus B vaccine:

Meningococcus B is a bacteria which causes very serious infections such as meningitis and sepsis (blood infection).

Despite the low incidence of this disease in our country in the last few years, the Advisory Committee for Vaccines recommends vaccination against meningococcus B for all children over the age of 2 months.

 

  • Quadrivalent conjugate vaccine against meningococcus ACWY:

In addition to the most common meningococcal strains in Europe named earlier: B (not funded) and C (funded), there are other serotypes which are less frequent but which have become relevant in the last few years, such as meningococcus serotypes Y and W.

 

The Spanish Advisory Committee on Vaccines recommends administration of this vaccine at the start of adolescence, in place of the monovalent vaccine against meningococcus C.

 

At the moment this vaccine is not available in pharmacies, although it is foreseen that it will be within the next few months.

 

  • Human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine in males:

Males are involved in the transmission of the virus, however genital (penis, anus) cancer as well as more significantly cancer of the head and neck have also been described in men as a result of HPV.  Genital warts, which are much more frequent, are suffered equally by both sexes.

 

The two vaccines currently available against HPV protect against the types of the virus most commonly associated with these tumours. The quadrivalent vaccine also protects against the viruses involved in genital warts.

 

Although in some countries both sexes are already vaccinated against HPV, in Spain at the moment the Advisory Committee for Vaccines recommends informing parents on the possibility of male vaccination and taking an agreed decision.

 

Dr. Conejo, Paediatrician del Hospital Vithas Xanit Internacional