Planting Corn

Sweet Corn is adapted to a wide range of climatic conditions and, consequently, is grown in all sections of the U.S. It is grown for the fresh market in both the southern and northern regions, but by far the largest acreage in the North is grown for processing and freezing. This crop grows best during hot weather and is frost-tender.

Sweet Corn Varieties

Each seed company lists many varieties; therefore it is difficult to suggest varieties that are available in all sections. Most of the older varieties such as ‘Golden Bantam’ and ‘Country Gentleman’ have been replaced by hybrids such as ‘Sugar and Gold’, ‘Golden Beauty’, Earlibelle’, ‘Butter and Sugar’, ‘Gold Cup’, ‘Golden Cross Bantam’, and ‘Jubilee’, listed in order of maturity. ‘Country Gentleman’ and ‘Stowell Evergreen Hybrids’ are popular white varieties. There are many other varieties that are excellent and therefore it is recommended that seed catalogues be checked for those that are listed for a particular region.

Sweet Corn Soils and Fertilizers

Sweet Corn is grown on all types of soil. A well-drained sandy loam to a silt loam is preferred. This plant has a very deep and extensive root system. Deep and thorough soil preparation is therefore important. Three to four bu. of well-rotted manure per two ft. of row worked into the soil will improve the water-holding capacity of the soil and provide some plant food.

Sweet Corn Planting

Sweet Corn is injured by frost and the seed germinates poorly in cold wet soil. Planting should be delayed until these conditions are satisfactory. Some gardeners start the seed in paper bands or pots in the hotbed and then transplant into the garden to get corn a week or two earlier than by direct planting out of doors. Sweet Corn can be planted in hills or in drills. Hills should be spaced 18 to 24 in. apart in the row and the rows spaced at 36 in. Three plants are adequate per hill. In drills the rows are spaced at 36 in. and the plants thinned to stand6-8 in. apart. Crows and starlings may scratch out the seed just prior to its germination. The seed should be treated with a crow repellent which can be purchased at a garden center.

Sweet Corn Cultivation

Cultivation of Sweet Corn is similar to that of other garden crops, namely shallow and sufficient to control weeds. Where corn is planted in hills, black plastic 18 in. wide may be placed over the row with holes for each hill. This not only controls weeds but also tends to conserve soil moisture. Herbicides are widely used in commercial corn plantings for the control of weeds. The most satisfactory material is Atrazine, but again this is very selective and cannot be recommended for the home gardener with a few short rows of Sweet Corn.

The removal of suckers and hilling of corn plants is not necessary or recommended Harvesting

Highest quality, sweetness and tenderness of the kernel are reached when harvested in the milk stage of maturity. At this stage the kernel is soft and succulent. As the kernel content changes to a doughy consistency it loses its sweetness and increases in toughness. Flavor and succulence are quickly lost after picking if exposed to high temperatures, say 75° to 80° F. At these temperatures 30-50% of the sugar may revert to starch in 4-5 hours. At temperatures of 32°-38°F, the original quality may be retained for several days.

Sweet Corn Insects and Pests

Corn earworm, a stout striped worm, feeds in the silk and kernels near tip of ear. Although they do not survive freezing, they migrate northward and are destructive when the ears are maturing. Spraying or dusting the silk at 2 or 3 day intervals with insecticide is safe and effective. European corn borer and southern corn borer tunnel stalks and eat kernels. Spraying with insecticide when the stalks are first visible in the whorl and repeating in 7-10 days should give good control. White grubs and wireworms eat the seed and roots and soil treatment with insecticide is desirable following sod. Corn flea beetle spreads bacterial (Stewart’s) wilt disease and, following mild winters when the beetle survives, a careful spraying program with insecticide on early corn is recommended. Army worm can strip the leaves from corn in a short time. They are most destructive in late summer and a thorough treatment of corn and surrounding vegetation with insecticide is advised. Chinch bug is destructive in Midwestern corn fields but seldom needs special control in home gardens. Stalk borer bores into stalks when they are small and ruins them. Spraying is seldom practical. Japanese beetles eat the silk but can be handpicked successfully if sprays for other insect pests are not used.

Sweet Corn Diseases

Bacterial wilt is described under flea beetle. Corn smut produces large, grayish-white galls called “boils” which usually ruin the ear. The “boils” contain a mass of spores. Fungicides are impractical and cutting and burning before the spores mature is suggested for home gardens. Treated corn seed is recommended for planting using fungicide on home grown seed.

Liver Disease

Some people turn yellow when their liver becomes infected. This is called jaundice, and it means that the liver cells have become infected and inflamed. A pigmented product called bilirubin that is produced in the liver and normally passed into the bowel for elimination is blocked as the inflamed cells and canals jam up.

More and more is channeled into the bloodstream, giving the skin and normally white parts of the body (such as the whites of the eyes) a yellowish tinge.

Liver Disease Causes

The most common type of liver disease is infectious hepatitis, or hepatitis A. It’s caused by a virus believed to be transmitted from infected fecal matter to food that subsequently finds its way into the system. Infectious particles of the hepatitis A virus are seen with the aid of an electron microscope. Symptoms can occur anywhere from 30 to 40 days after infection.

This is a similar kind, but it seems to act much more slowly, taking anywhere from 40 to 110 days (average 65 days) to produce symptoms. It is probably transmitted in a different way, and once it was believed to occur if infected needles or blood were used. Now researchers have found that the virus may be transmitted from person to person in a multitude of ways.

A product in the blood that pinpointed accurate diagnosis was first discovered in an Australian aboriginal, and for many years it was called Australian antigen. But now it is known as the hepatitis B (surface) antigen. When trying to confirm the diagnosis, doctors seek this particular element in the blood of the patient.

Liver Disease Symptoms

Often symptoms start abruptly, with fevers, headaches, aches and pains all over, loss of appetite and vomiting. After two to five days, a yellowing of the skin or eyes may occur, and this gives the signal that hepatitis may be present. However, this is not always so, and many cases occur in which there are only a few symptoms. Often the upper part of the abdomen is painful. This indicates the liver or spleen, two large organs tucked up under the ribs, are affected and swollen.

With symptoms of this kind, a wise parent will call the doctor. Diagnosis is often difficult, although if there is a local epidemic, it is much easier to predict. The doctor will most probably order special tests to confirm the diagnosis.

Liver Disease Treatment

There is no specific drug in use, but the doctor will give advice on the best routine to follow. Also, the doctor’s supervision is advisable, for serious complications may take place in which hospital care may become necessary. Fortunately the majority of cases does well with simple measures, and get well before long.

Reducing physical activity with a few days in bed gives the body’s recuperative powers the best chance to work at maximum capacity. Plenty of fluids, especially fruit juices with added powdered glucose D provide food in an easy digestible form and help allay nausea. Fluids help rid toxins and dead germs from the system. They also help reduce fevers. There are no strict food restrictions, but high-fat-content meals are usually unpalatable.

Most cases do well, especially those in whom the infection has been mild – this is so in most instances. However, hospital care is sometimes necessary, especially if symptoms are severe, and the youthful patient is not able to take normal food by mouth.

Hepatitis B is a far more severe and dangerous disorder, and the outlook is often much poorer.

A vaccine offering protection against hepatitis B is now available, and is given to persons at risk. The main risk is in mothers infecting their babies during pregnancy.

There is no vaccine for hepatitis A, but those coming into contact with the disease may gain protection by an injection of special serum containing the protective elements called gamma globulin. The doctor arranges this for you.

Emergency and First Aid

Increasing knowledge and advances in medicine constantly update first-aid techniques in the event of an emergency, but the emphasis remains on the prompt and proper care of the casualty by helping to alleviate pain and suffering. Whether first aid involves being able to deal with a suspected broken leg or stopping a nosebleed, it is vital to know the right steps to rake in order to prevent further complications and to reassure the casualty that they are in good hands.

Learning basic first-aid techniques is straightforward and is something that everyone should do. Knowing how to act in some emergency situations may well make the difference between life and death.

Animal Bites and Scratches

  1. All animals carry germs in their mouths and on their claws. When these penetrate the skin, the germs will be left in the muscle tissues and may cause infection if not cleaned thoroughly.
  2. Hold the wound under warm running water and wash the affected area with soap for at least 5 minutes to remove any saliva or dirt particles.
  3. Gently pat the area dry, and then wipe the wound with a mild antiseptic solution before covering it with a sticking plaster or sterile dressing.
  4. A serious wound should always he referred to hospital.

Broken Bones

  1. Always treat any doubtful cases of injured bones as if they were broken in order to prevent additional internal injuries. Do not attempt to move the casualty until the injured part is secured and supported, unless he is in danger
  2. If the broken limb is an arm, it may then be reasonable to take the casualty to hospital by car, otherwise call for an ambulance immediately.
  3. Do not give the casualty anything to eat or drink, as surgery may be required if bones are badly broken.

Treating a Broken Leg

  1. Ensure that the casualty remains still, and support the leg and below the injury with your hands. Move the uninjured leg against it and place padding between the knees, ankles and hollows.
  2. Using a scarf, tie or cloth, tie the feet together in a figure-of-8 to secure them, and tie on the outer edge of the foot on the uninjured leg.
  3. Immobilize the joints by tying both knees and ankles together. Lie additional bandages and below the injured area.
  4. Should the bone protrude through the skin, cover the wound with a sterile dressing or clean pad, and apply pressure to control the bleeding. Use a bandage to secure the pad and immobilize the limb.

Treating a Broken Arm

  1. Sit the casualty in a chair and carefully place the injured arm across his chest in the position that is most comfortable. Ask him to support the arm or place a cushion underneath it to take the weight.
  2. Use a shawl or piece of sheeting (approximately 1sq in / 1yd in size) and fold it diagonally into a triangle. Slide this under the injured arm and strap the arm using a wide piece of fabric, then secure by tying the ends by the collarbone on the injured side.

Burns and Scalds

  1. Immediately douse the burned or scalded area in cold running water.
  2. Gently try to remove any jewellery or constricting clothing from near the burn before it starts to swell.
  3. Keep the affected part in cold water for at least 10 minutes, then place a clean dressing over the horn and gently bandage it.
  4. Any injury larger than 2.5cm / 1in will require treatment at the hospital.

Treating Burns

  1. Never break blisters.
  2. Never use a sticking plaster.
  3. Never apply butter, lotions or ointment to the affected area.

Choking

  1. Remove any food or false teeth from the mouth, but never attempt to locate the obstruction by putting your fingers down the casualty’s throat, as this can push the obstruction further in.
  2. If the casualty becomes unconscious this may relieve muscle spasm, so check to see whether he has begun to breathe. If not, turn him on his side and give 4 blows between the shoulder blades. Should this fail, place one hand the other just below the rib cage and perform abdominal thrusts. If the casualty still does not start to breathe, call immediately for an ambulance and give the kiss of life.
  3. If a choking casualty becomes unconscious, kneel astride him and, placing one hand the other, perform abdominal thrusts.

Dealing with a Choking Person

  1. Bend the casualty forward so that the head is lower than the chest, and encourage him to cough. If this does not dislodge the object, sharply slap him up to 5 times between the shoulder blades using the flat of your hand.
  2. If this fails, stand behind him and grip your hands together just below the rib cage. Pull sharply inwards and upwards from your elbows to deliver up to 5 abdominal thrusts.11 times of this action will cause the diaphragm to compress the chest and should force out the obstruction. If the blockage still remains, repeat the process of 5 hack slaps followed by 5 abdominal thrusts.
  3. If a child is choking, place him across your knees with the heel down. Holding him securely, slap smartly between the shoulder blades (using less force than that required for an adult) to dislodge the object. If the child continues to choke, sit-in on your knees and, using just one clenched hand, perform gentle abdominal thrusts to avoid causing injury.
  4. If a baby or toddler is choking, lay him along your forearm with the head down, using your hand to support the head. Use your fingers to slap the baby smartly between the shoulder blades, but remember to use less force than you would for an older child.
  5. If the baby fails to start breathing, turn him over on to his hack so that the head is tilted down. Using only 2 fingers, apply up to 4 abdominal thrusts just the navel by pressing quickly forwards towards the area of the chest.

Friedreich’s Ataxia

Friedreich’s ataxia is an inherited disease, with the patient usually affected in childhood. The disease generally sets in between the child’s sixth and tenth years. Onset is gradual, with foot deformity and ataxia (an inability to appreciate the normal sensation of space). Awkwardness of walking is the typical symptom, with a tendency to stumble and fall easily. This may even date from infancy. The walk becomes clumsy and irregular, short steps are taken and the trunk tends to sway unsteadily from side to side. When walking each foot is raised in a poorly coordinated manner. Gradually this tendency spreads to the upper limbs.

As the condition advances, irregular movements of the head and neck follow, with the upper part of the body moving with jerky, nodding motions. Irregular eye movements occur, also difficulties in speech and word correlation. There may be wasting of the muscles of the hands and feet however, sensation appreciation is often little affected.

The course is a slow and irregular one, but the average duration of the disease is more than 30 years. Concurrent infections do not help, and may finally cause the patient’s death, rather than the disease itself.

There is no known treatment of any benefit. Training of the limbs by physiotherapy may assist, and orthopedic shoes can assist the deformities of the feet.

Group B Streptococcal

Group B Streptococcal (GBS) infection is found in the genital area of up to 30 percent of healthy women. Most infected pregnant women show no signs of illness, but are at increased risk for kidney infections, premature rupture of the membranes, preterm labor, and stillbirth. The biggest danger is to infants who become infected during birth. While not all infants become ill, if you or someone else in the family is ill, it is best that you do not make contact with the baby; otherwise serious replications could take place. The factors that increase the risk of complications are prematurity, fever during labor, high level bacteria, and prolonged rupture of the membranes mix to delivery.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), culture of the vaginal and rectal area to check for group B strep should be performed on all pregnant women at 35 to 37 weeks of pregnancy. Women who tested positive during pregnancy with either the genital culture or urine culture, who previously had an infant with GBS, or who deliver before 37 weeks gestation should be treated during labor with antibiotics. Women who did not have a culture done or whose culture result is not known should be given antibiotics if they are less than 37 weeks pregnant, have had ruptured membranes for longer than 18 hours, or have a temperature of over 100.4°F (Fahrenheit).

Treatment with antibiotics during labor has been shown to be highly effective in preventing complications in newborns if the antibiotics are administered 4 or more hours prior to delivery. If the infant is delivered less than 4 hours following the administration of antibiotics or shows signs of infection, a partial or full septic workup may be required. This may include blood tests, a spinal tap, chest X-rays, and/or intravenous administration of antibiotics. The CDC also recommends that all infants of treated mothers be observed for 48 hours after delivery.

Home Interior Decorating

The best way to get an objective view of your home’s interior condition is to imagine that it is up for sale and to view it in the role of a prospective purchaser. The aim of the exercise is not to give rise to a severe bout of depression on your part, but to determine what exists in the home and what could be done to change or improve it.

Start at the front door, and step into the hallway. Is it bright and well lit, or gloomy and unwelcoming? A lighter Colour scheme could make a narrow area appear more spacious, and better lighting would make it seem more inviting. Decorating the wall opposite the front door would make a long hall appear shorter, while changing the way the staircase is decorated could make it a less or more dominant feature.

Is the staircase well lit, for safety’s sake as well as for looks? Opening up the space beneath the stairs could get rid of what is typically an untidy glory hole (storage room), taking up space without saving any. Lastly, are the wall and floor coverings practical? The hall floor is bound to be well-trodden, and needs to be durable and easy to clean as well as looking attractive.

Choose an integrated decorating scheme for the hallway, stairs and landing -area. Bring down the apparent ceiling height using a dado (chair) rail or decorative border. The living room has to be light and airy during the day, yet cozy and comfortable in the evening. The fireplace and a central table provide the main focal points here.

Now move into the main living room. This is always the most difficult room in the house to decorate and furnish successfully because of its dual purpose. It is used both for daily life and to entertain visitors. It must be fresh and lively by day, yet cozy and peaceful in the evening. One of the chief keys to success is flexible lighting that can be altered to suit the room’s different uses, but the decorations and furnishings all have their part to play too.

Look at the color scheme. How well does it blend in with the furnishings, the curtains and drapes, and the floor covering? Are there any interesting features such as a fireplace, an alcove, an archway into another room, even an ornate cornice (crown molding) around the ceiling? Some of these features might benefit from being highlighted with special lighting, for instance, while other less attractive ones would be better disguised.

Next, examine how the room works. Are ‘traffic routes’ congested? Are the seating arrangements flexible? Are there surfaces on which things can easily be put down? Does any storage or display provision look good and work well? Can everyone who is seated see the television? Does everyone want to? Assessing the room in this way reveals its successes and failures, and shows how to eliminate the latter.

Continue the guided tour with the dining room, or dining area. This is often the least used room in the house, so its design tends to be neglected. As it is generally used for just one purpose, eating and it needs to be decorated in a way that avoids visual indigestion. Warm, welcoming color schemes and flexible lighting work best in this location; strident patterns and harsh colors are to be avoided.

Now turn to the kitchen. Whatever type of room this is, the most important consideration is that it should be hygienic, for obvious reasons. Are the various surfaces in the room easy to keep clean, and to redecorate when necessary? Are there dust and grease traps? Is the lighting over the hob (burners) and counter tops adequate? Is the floor covering a practical choice? As the kitchen is often the hub of family life, it needs to be functional but adaptable, and also pleasant to be in so that the cook does not mind the time spent slaving over a hot stove.

Bathrooms have their own special requirements, mainly revolving around combining comfort with a degree of waterproofing, especially if there are young children in the family. Are the decorations and floor covering suitable? How well do they complement the bathroom suite? What about the space available within the room? Could congestion be relieved by moving things around, or by moving them out altogether? Having a shower instead of a bath, for example, could create kits of extra space. Could a second bathroom be created elsewhere in the house? Otherwise, putting washbasins in some of the bedrooms could take the pressure off the family bathroom during the morning rush hour.

Lastly, we come to the bedrooms. The bed is the focal point of the room, so the way it is dressed will be the main influence on the room’s appearance. The color scheme also has its part to play in making a bedroom look comfortable and relaxing. Remember that the room’s occupant will see it from two viewpoints on entering, and from the bed, so take this into account when making your assessment. What about the ceiling? In the one room where people actually spend some time staring at it, does it deserve something a little more adventurous than white paint? Is the floor covering warm to the touch of bare feet? In a child’s room, is it also capable of withstanding the occasional rough and tumble or a disaster with the finger paints? Lastly, is the lighting adequate for all requirements? Most bedrooms need a combination of subdued general lighting and brighter local task lighting for occupations such as reading in bed, putting on make-up or tackling school homework. Some changes here may make the room function much more satisfactorily.

Once your tour around the house is complete, you should have a clear picture of its condition and how well it works, and some ideas as to how it might be improved. All you will have viewed is as a whole, not just as a series of individual rooms. That is the first step towards creating an attractive, stylish and practical home.

Purpura

What is Purpura?

Purpura means there is a tendency for the skin to bruise. It’s more likely in children under the age of six years, and often there may have been a tendency to bruise easily with simple knocks. A large number of purpuras exist, and they have a strange variety of names. Basically, the cause is a fault with the clotting mechanism of the blood. This usually involves tiny particles called platelets, which are part of the solid phase of the blood. There may be too few, or the place where they are produced, in the bone marrow, may be diseased.

Sometimes the condition follows a few weeks after a simple infection, often a viral one, or germs collecting in the urinary tract or teeth. There may be bleeding into the skin causing bruising. It may come from the nose, gums or urinary system these are the most common areas. Sometimes bleeding may occur into the bowel or pints or even into the nervous system, hit these are more unlikely. The child may run a fever, appear pale, but this varies. When the blood is examined, there is usually a reduced number of platelets.

Purpura Treatment

It can be a worrying time, and treatment may be needed for many months, often up to six or eight. Blood transfusions are given to restore the platelet count to normal, and these may be repeated depending on the child’s reaction.

Any infection is treated. The child is given a nutritious diet, probably with added vitamins, and the steroid drugs are sometimes used. Every effort is made to avoid injuring the body, for this will aggravate the bruising and bleeding. Certain of the newer drugs may also be used. It depends on the case, and the opinion of the doctors treating it. In continuing cases despite treatment (probably after six to twelve months of active therapy), the spleen, the large organ in the upper abdomen is sometimes surgically removed.

In most cases the results are favourable often with or without treatment, the vast majority of people recover within six months, but some may take longer and cases have continued for three years or more. Occasionally a purpura is fatal, but usually not.

Acute Pharyngitis

What is Acute Pharyngitis?

It is common for the pharynx to become inflamed and infected. Indeed, in practically any upper respiratory tract infection, some degree of sore throat will take place. It is almost impossible for the pharynx to escape, for it forms a basic part of the respiratory tract. Also, in the many invasive infections, the throat will become sore. This is true of many of the childhood fevers: measles, mumps, possibly chickenpox, infectious mononucleosis (glandular fever) and all the other simple infections that are common. Usually it is a simple process, and healing occurs with time and straightforward measures.

Acute Pharyngitis Symptoms

The throat becomes progressively more painful. The back part becomes red, and small raised areas of lymphoid tissue often become prominent. The mucus becomes thick. Talking may be difficult, and often there is some intercurrent laryngitis as well. The lymph glands in the neck may swell and become painful. The tonsils may become involved to some extent. Often pharyngitis is part of a generalised tonsillitis, and often the two conditions will be treated simultaneously.

The complications of simple pharyngitis are similar to those of tonsillitis.

Acute Pharyngitis Treatment

Treatment of pharyngitis is usually similar (often identical) to that for acute tonsillitis. Generally the condition is not so severe, and as a rule systemic side effects are less marked.

However, many respond well to antibiotics from the doctor. Incidentally, no antibiotic should be taken unless doctor prescribed for a specific illness, and then the full prescribed course should be taken. This helps to ensure that the germs are totally killed and not merely “stunned,” so giving rise to the possible development of resistant strains that in future might not respond to antibiotics at all. (This is fast becoming a major worldwide problem with indiscriminate use of antibiotics.) Do not take antibiotics prescribed for others unless given specific medical instructions.

Renal Dialysis

Two types of machines are available, and they are set with alarms that sound loudly if faults develop. Ideally, efforts are made so as to make the lifestyle as near to normal as possible. Some dialysers may be used at night when the patient is asleep; three 10-hour spells weekly being adequate. Other types are more powerful, and require shorter sessions.

The artificial kidney, as it is often called, is far less efficient than the real one, and many patients exist in a mild state of chronic renal failure. For this reason eating habits may be restricted, the diet may be low in protein, sodium and potassium, and the patient may be allowed only 600 ml of fluid daily.

Initially the patient may be treated in hospital in a dialysis unit. However, many are taught to run their own units, and can manage well at home. This, of course, throws added burdens on the marital partner, for supervision is always necessary and the whole system can alter the usual lifestyle in a home.

Various medical problems are inevitable with a system interfering so markedly with the normal operation of the body.

Access must be gained to the blood circulation. This is often at the wrist or ankle. Various devices are used. A so called arteriovenous teflon silastic shunt is popular. This basically consists of a tube connecting the artery and vein at the wrist. It is made of silastic and consists of two halves connected when not in use.

When dialysis is about to be carried out, the halves are separated and hooked to the machine. In some types, normal heart action is sufficient to pump the blood through the dialyser, but in others a blood pump is necessary. Blood comes from the artery through the dialyser where the unwanted metabolites of the body are filtered off, and then returned to the vein to re-enter the body’s circulation.

Dialysis vs Transplant

There is a continual question as to which form of treatment is best. There is no doubt that having a functioning organ, if possible is far preferable to having to rely on regular treatment with a machine. However, surgery carries with it the usual risks that go with an operation – possibly of the patient’s own life. Most patients are happy to accept the risk.

The main problem at present is not the acceptance of the concept by the patient, but the availability of suitable kidneys for transplant. At any given time there are probably 2000 to 3000 persons on the waiting list, anxious to undergo surgery, and hoping that a suitable opportunity (a suitable matching kidney) will become available. With greater public awareness and education, it is to be hoped that more supplies will become available. Many Western countries have taken the initiative in public educational programs, and have altered legislation making the total enterprise simpler, and notification easier. In the next few years one would expect to see a major step forward in this rewarding and lifesaving field.

Cogenital Heart Disorders

What is Congenital Heart Disease?

Congenital heart disease probably represents the most common disease of the heart system in infancy and early childhood. About six to eight babies for every 1,000 born may suffer from one of these disorders. It doesn’t sound very many, but when you consider that around 4,000,000 babies are born in each year within the US alone, the figure still tallies up to a fair number in gross figures. It could represent up to 24,000 to 32,000 babies affected each year.

Congenital Heart Disease Causes

There is little doubt that infections during early pregnancy, especially the first trimester (first three month period), may play a major part. In the bad old days before it was realized how powerful the virus of rubella was. Many more babies were affected. After a rubella epidemic, many babies were born with severe congenital defects, not only of the heart, but of the eyes, ear and brain. The heart is developed around eight to ten weeks after conception, and the virus readily crosses over the placenta into the developing embryo. It can markedly interfere with normal cell division, hence the problems of defects occurring from that point on.

Viruses are not the only cause. There must be many other causes. The taking of drugs during pregnancy may interfere adversely with development. X-rays have also been incriminated, for they too, may interfere with normal cellular replication. If there are defects in the parent, this, too, may increase the baby’s risk. But in the main, we do not know too much about it all. There arc undoubtedly many other causes present.

The symptoms may be many and varied. There may be a below-average weight gain. Feeding problems are common, and attacks of vomiting may take place. There may be sighing, fainting attacks and even blackouts. The baby may be pale, have difficulty in swallowing normal feeds, or may regurgitate food with the appearance of curdled milk. Normal comfortable breathing may be absent. Baby may seem more at ease while bending backwards. The -growing child is often disinclined to join in the normal playground activities with playmates, and may prefer to sit on the SI lines. There could be a bluish tinge to the s in. (This is called cyanosis.)

Congenital Heart Disease Treatment

The question that immediately looms is what should the parent do if any of these telltale symptoms put in an appearance? Many of the symptoms may be intermittent. There are usually no flags flying and red lights flashing. The mother may realize that something is wrong, although often especially with a first baby, the mother may not recognize the symptoms as being abnormal, for she may have no yardstick of comparison. This is often a major problem for young mothers regarding any childhood illness, not necessarily solely heart disorders.

The mother is best advised to take the baby or infant or child to the family doctor. Here, general checks may be initiated. If there is any question of congenital defects, then the appropriate specialty will be recommended. There are experts in this field in every capital city in Australia and New Zealand, and rural towns also have access to good medical investigation and care. Ideally, the child will ultimately wind up at a major city centre with the facilities to diagnose and correct any abnormality.

The range of heart defects is quite large. It is all very complex but today we live in a sophisticated society, and we have access to first-class medical care. A parent with problems should be steered toward the expert centers. Surgery has made remarkable advances in recent times.

In some congenital defects, the relatively simple administration of certain medications is proving beneficial. A condition called patent ductus arteriosus 4 (which means a connection between two major vessels remains open instead of shutting off at birth) is now being treated with a simple drug called indomethacin (also used for arthritics). Given early, it enables the vessels to close and stay shut.