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8 Common Childhood Illnesses: Knowing when to Seek Help

As a parent, one of your greatest anxieties comes when your baby or toddler falls sick. You know they're still pretty fragile, so it can be quite concerning when that happens.

However, not all childhood illnesses are a threat. Some come and go on their own. Nonetheless, it's important to know what's wrong with your child to help you when doctor attention is needed.

Here are eight illnesses common among children.

1. Common cold

The common cold is one of the most common illnesses children experience. It's caused by a virus through person-to-person contact or in the air when a patient sneezes. Ibuprofen and other OTC prescriptions can treat the condition.

Notably, the signs of the common cold, including fever and cough, are similar to those of acute flaccid myelitis. The latter, although rare, is more worrisome as it can cause paralysis. See your doctor if you notice the child experiences weakness or pain in the arms or legs.

2. The flu

Commonly called the flu, influenza is quite common among children. Although it has similar symptoms to the common cold and is also a contagious respiratory disease, it is caused by a different virus.

Flu symptoms include fever, body pain, chills, and sore throat. You can easily treat it at home, but you can lower the risks of your child contracting it by ensuring the entire family gets a flu vaccine yearly.

3. Sore throat

Sore throats are very common in children and can be pretty painful. However, you don't always need any antibiotics as they typically go away on their own.

However, sore throats are sometimes caused by streptococcal infection. In such cases, antibiotics would be required. Babies and toddlers don't quickly get infected, but the risk increases if a family member has it.

4. Ear pain

Ear pain can be excruciating and cause sleep disturbance in children. But this pain may result from different things, including an ear infection, teeth pain, and cold.

The best step is to get a doctor to examine your child so they can find a quick remedy. Amoxicillin is an excellent antibiotic to use if the infection occurs in the middle ear.

5. Gastroenteritis

A common illness among children, gastroenteritis, is caused by a virus that attacks the stomach. The symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea.

If your child experiences this condition, ensure they get enough fluids to prevent dehydration due to diarrhea. It usually passes within two days.

6. Sinus infection

Sinus infection, or sinusitis, is caused by fluid build-up in the sinuses, allowing germs to develop. A sinus infection is characterized by a runny nose, sore throat, cough, and bad breath.

7. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)

RSV causes cold-like symptoms like fever, cough, and runny nose. It attacks the respiratory system, and in infants, it can sometimes get severe as it can lead to pneumonia.

However, RSV is most times mild among children.

8. Bronchitis

Bronchitis is a virus infection in the lungs and doesn't usually need antibiotics. The symptoms include cough, chest pain or soreness, headache, sore throat, and body pain.

Most cases of bronchitis occur after an upper respiratory infection.

Wrapping up

Most of these childhood illnesses go on their own after a few days, sometimes supported by OTC medication. However, you must see a doctor when medications prove abortive, and the illness persists after several days.

If there's difficulty breathing, do not hesitate to see a doctor at once.


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