Sunday, May 27, 2012

Common Childhood Illnesses - Diarrhoea and Vomiting

by Dr. Dan Giap Liang

Diarrhoea and Vomiting
Diarrhoea and vomiting are also common childhood illnesses. Most times, viruses are the culprit with the Rotavirus being the most common in children. Others, like norovirus and astroviruses, occasionally cause outbreaks, too. Food poisoning is a form of gastroenteritis, if the child consumes contaminated food or water containing bacteria. Sometimes, diarrhoea may be the only symptom, although associated complaints like vomiting and fever are common. Most cases, the illness lasts for three to six days and often, there is a history of contact with a person who has had similar symptoms.

The main concern when dealing with gastroenteritis is dehydration. Toddlers, and more so infants, can easily become dehydrated if they lose more fluid than they take in. Furthermore, they do not tolerate loss of fluids as well as adults and older children. The main aim of treatment is to ensure adequate fluids intake for that lost in the watery stools.


In most cases, the treatment is to feed the child sufficient fluids. There are a few types of oral rehydration salts in the market and most will suffice. Breastfeeding is to be encouraged, too. Water alone is discouraged, as the child also loses salt and minerals in the diarrhoeal stools. Hence, a mixture of salt and minerals are necessary besides water. If the child is hungry and can tolerate food, this can be continued, too. Some medications may be prescribed, although generally not necessary. Should the child be vomiting, too, wait for half an hour or so before attempting to feed again.

The trick is to give frequent and small amounts of fluids, so as not to over distend the stomach. Increase the amounts progressively once the child can tolerate. Fortunately, most children will recover gradually over a few days, On the other hand, do consult a doctor if the child shows signs of lethargy, persistent vomiting with worsening diarrhoea, spiking fever, sever abdominal pain or bloody stools. In such situations, it may be necessary to admit the child for observation and intravenous rehydration, if there is no improvement despite oral treatment.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


A gentle breeze caressed my face as I stepped out of the car. Looking down on the rows of houses and the tall durian trees in the orchard across the main road, I remember the day we moved to Taman U. It was a bright, sunny day and it was in the morning. I remember complaining about the heat, profusely wiping the droplets of sweat from my forehead and neck.

From a few square feet of barren laterite earth, our garden has grown into what our friends refer to as a jungle. Once, I helped to rearrange the plants and made use of the organic enzyme sitting in a blue barrel in our backyard. Little did I know that the small amount of enzyme I sprinkled over the plants was able to fertilise the plants in such great speed. The little cutlet of branches from a tree grandma gave us grew into a mature tree in a matter of weeks. After a six-week trip, I came home totally amazed that from a branch as long as my forearm was now at the height of the balcony.

Mr. Cactus in the middle of the garden seldom bloomed but when he did, it was always a pretty sight. We always looked forward to his blooms. With the addition of Remy and the other kittens, we were always not short on kitty humour, as we watch them learn to climb the trees and find their way through the maze of pots and plants. Once, we heard a big splash and wondered what it was. We could not hold our laughter as we noticed a very wet and shocked kitten fumble out of the fishpond.

Wear and tear from the rain and shine prompted Dad to give the gate a facelift. The rusty metal links were replaced by long, slender planks to resemble a picket fence. I remember helping Dad using tools and materials such as sandpaper, shellac and a Bosch cordless screwdriver. I proudly tell friends that I helped do the gate up.

Looking for my home did not cause much of a problem because of how easy it was to identify. I need only point out the gate and the jungle of a garden sandwiched between two mansions.

The bittersweet memories of childhood, adolescence and young adulthood fill every nook and cranny of this home. The melodies of my piano practices and singing practices of the young charges from choir echo through the stairwell. The tempting fragrance of freshly fried prawn crackers whiff through the entire house during Chinese New Year. Much of my character was built in this home.

Home. Just nowhere like it.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Zilver Restaurant

Every time I visit Zilver, it is for yumcha. This was the first time I had a proper meal there. Like other Chinese restaurants, they served complementary bites and soup.

First up for mains, we had Peking duck served with pancakes and hoisin sauce ($38.80 for half, $62.80 for full).

A very unique dish that came up next had me startled slightly, as it was flaming from the foil.

Aptly called flaming pork ribs with mayonnaise ($23.80), this was my favourite dish of the night.

How can we go without fish? We chose to have a fish that they recommended. When it came out, I thought it looked and tasted very much like the steamed fish dishes served in the restaurants back home.

The wok-tossed snake beans with oyster sauce ($20.80) were pretty crunchy but lacked that little bit of a 'burnt wok' taste.

I also enjoyed the pumpkin dish, perhaps because it actually came out served in a pumpkin.

Zilver Restaurant
Level 1, 477 Pitt Street (cnr Hay Street), Haymarket, NSW 2000, Australia
Tel: +61 2 9211 2232, Fax: +61 2 9211 5670, E-mail:
Monday to Friday 10:00am to 3:30pm, 5:30pm to 11:00pm
Saturday to Sunday 9:00am to 3:30pm, 5:30pm to 11:00pm

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