14.4  Teach the mother how to treat local infections at home

This section describes how to teach a child’s mother to treat local infections at home. Local infections include coughs, a sore throat, eye infection, mouth ulcers, ear infection, an umbilicus that is red or draining pus, skin pustules and thrush.

When teaching or advising a mother, you should:

  • Explain what the treatment is and why it should be given
  • Describe the treatment steps listed in the appropriate box on the TREAT charts (see your chart booklet)
  • Watch the mother as she does the first treatment
  • Tell her how often to do the treatment at home
  • If needed for treatment at home, give the mother the tube of tetracycline ointment or a small bottle of gentian violet
  • Check the mother’s understanding about how to treat her child and how often, before she leaves the clinic.

Some treatments for local infections cause discomfort. Children often resist having their eyes, ears or mouth treated. Therefore, it is important that you show the mother how to hold her child still. This will prevent the child from interfering with the treatment.

Positioning a child to apply medication.
Figure 14.1  Positioning a child to apply medication.

The drawing in Figure 14.1 shows a good position for holding a child. Tilt the child’s head back when applying eye ointment or treating mouth ulcers. Tilt the child’s head to the side when wicking/cleaning the ear.

Do not attempt to hold the child still until immediately before treatment.

The following examples cover some of the material you have already read in an earlier section in this Module. However, these examples provide good revision for you and also help you see how to apply your knowledge about effective counselling to practical cases.

14.3.8  Check the mother’s understanding before she leaves the health post

14.4.1  Treat eye infection with tetracycline eye ointment