Is there a right way to instill love, kindness and compassion for humans and other living creatures in a child?

Be an example. Children do what their parents do because you’re their role model. If they see you treat all the people around you kindly, they will also nurture a loving relationship with their peers as they grow up. If they see how you care for your pets, they will also be kind to animals. Show your child how good it feels to help out neighbors, for example, and how you can gain more friends by genuinely caring for everyone.

Say the right words. Show your child that there’s nothing to be ashamed of when expressing how much you love and care for another person. Don’t be afraid to say “I love you” before bedtime, or say “thank you” to people who make our lives easier. Practice saying “thank you” to the waiter or waitress when he/she serves the food, for example. Show your kid that it’s good to express your gratitude even when the person is being paid to do their jobs.

Use kind words. Whenever you talk to other people, always use polite and kind words even if you disagree. Hurtful words can ruin good relationships, and you wouldn’t want your child to grow up being shunned by his/her peers because they think he/she is an unpleasant company. Even when you’re talking to your child, he/she should be the receiving end of your compassion and understanding because it will make a bigger impact than anything else.

Help them raise a pet. If your family has the means to care for a pet, it’s also a good method to teach your child how to care for another living creature. The experience will teach the child a lot of things he/she won’t learn at school or when dealing with other people. Raising pets will teach the child unconditional love, responsibility, compassion and empathy for all things.

Point out rudeness. Being compassionate and understanding towards your child also has boundaries. Some children need to be told that they need to correct rude behavior. Teach your child that he/she has to respect everyone including family members and parents, and that there is no excuse to be rude just because the person loves him/her. Unacceptable behavior such as hitting another person, shouting, and name-calling should never be tolerated, no matter the circumstances.

Make it a habit. Good manners, willingness to help, and the use of kind and helpful words should be practiced by everyone in the family, not just you and the child. When it becomes a normal part of the child’s life, he/she will take the experience into adulthood. When a child exhibits kindness even when no one told him/her to, praise the actions to let him/her know that you value the thought.

Opportunistic infections are illnesses caused by pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, protozoa and fungi that take advantage of a person’s weakened immune system. The inability to fight off invaders gives these infections an opportunity to enter the body, an opening rarely possible if only the person has a healthy body.

Causes of Weak Immune System
A weak immune system is caused by several factors and conditions such as pregnancy, ageing, ongoing medical procedures, and ongoing antibiotic treatment. Normally, opportunistic infections will not affect a healthy person, but if you have any of the following illnesses, you are at risk: recurring infections, HIV/AIDS, skin damage, leukopenia, and malnutrition. For people with HIV/AIDS, the most common opportunistic infections are the following: candidiasis, cervical cancer, herpes simplex virus, lymphoma, tuberculosis, pneumonia, Salmonella septicemia, wasting syndrome, and many more.

Testing for Opportunistic Infections
There are ways to be tested if you think you are infected with opportunistic infections or OI through blood tests. Patients with HIV/AIDS, for example, are at risk of getting infected and must be tested regularly. One type of blood test is to look for the antigens and/or antibodies. The antigens are traces of the germs that caused the opportunistic infection, while the antibodies are the proteins produced by the human body to fight off the infection. For people with HIV/AIDS, the CD4 cell count should be monitored, because it will determine how weak the immune system has become. The CD4 cells or T-cells are white blood cells that are responsible for suppressing and killing the cells infected by the virus.

HIV/AIDS and CD4 Cells
If the person has a very low CD4 cell count, it means that he/she is more likely to get sick or infected and will have a difficult time recovering. The human immunodeficiency virus often infects the CD4 cells and become part of the normal cells. As they destroy the person’s healthy cells, the HIV also multiplies, making it harder for the remaining white blood cells to fight off the infection. A CD4 test is taken by using a blood sample from the patient and then determining the count of several types of cells still present. Although the CD4 count is not exact, the laboratory technician can give a good proportion of CD4 cells by calculating the total white blood cells in the sample. A normal CD4 count should be between 500 and 1,600. A CD4 cell count below 200 will indicate that the person’s immune system has been severely damaged and is diagnosed with autoimmune deficiency syndrome or AIDS, the final stage of HIV.

Prevention of Opportunistic Infections
If you have HIV/AIDS, you should avoid getting infections through treatments such as antiretroviral therapy, taking prescribed medication (prophylaxis), getting vaccinations, practicing healthy eating habits, limiting your exposure to germs, drinking clean water only, and monitoring your CD4 cell count every 6 to 12 months.