Copyright © 1998 by Cynthia Teeters. All rights reserved.
No matter what medical status you believe your child has, there is still much you can and should do to improve your child's health.
It is not always understood by local pediatricians and family practitioners that a post-institutionalized child is child from a third-world environment. Your child must not be treated by the medical establishment according to your socio-economic status. Diseases and conditions that would never be screened for in a child born into such families as yours must be screened for in newly adopted children.
The danger of waiting for symptoms before considering such problems is that our children are often asymptomatic for the diseases they carry. Fortunately, many of these immediate health concerns of newly adopted children can be successfully addressed.
For example, parasites such as giardia lamblia are common in our children. They rob our children of sorely needed nutrients and pose health risks to other family members. Adding to the difficulty of screening for parasites is that sometimes there will be a false negative test and that drug treatments are not always 100% effective. For these reasons it is important to do multiple screening for parasites both before and after any prescribed treatment.
Other, more serious, infections such as Hepatitis B should be caught early. Early detection offers more treatment possibilities. Additionally, such early warnings give families the opportunity to immunize, if they haven't already done so, and take extra precautions to insure not only the health of the child but of those around her.
Tuberculosis is another screening test which must be done. Having an individual deal with this dreaded disease when it could have been prevented or cured when he was a child is surely a tragedy. Unfortunately there is a lot of confusion and mis-information about how to test for tuberculosis, what, if any, interference a prior BCG vaccination will create, and what constitutes a positive reaction from the test. Orphanage children should be considered high risk for TB. Testing and treatment should, therefore, be aggressive. Arm yourself with the information and advice about this disease given by the international adoption medical specialists before testing.