The most common diseases in children will depend on the age of the child, as well as the environment in which they live. It’s important to spot these diseases early because this gives you more time to treat them effectively, sometimes even preventing them from becoming serious illnesses later on in life. Read on to learn about the most common diseases in children and how to spot them early.
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect your airways.
It typically starts with a sudden fever, chills, weakness, sore throat, cough, congestion and fatigue.
The symptoms can last for a few days or can lead to hospitalization or even death. Although it’s not always easy to spot symptoms in kids, here are some ways you can identify flu-like illnesses.
– Watch for a fever higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you see someone has been sweating more than usual, shaking or is pale and has the flu, they may have hypothermia (low body temperature).
If someone’s muscles ache from head to toe and they have trouble moving around without feeling pain, they may have the flu. One symptom of the flu is having diarrhea several times a day.
Other symptoms include nausea/vomiting/loss of appetite; swollen glands; stuffy nose; red eyes/conjunctivitis; dry mouth/throat; difficulty breathing; decreased urination; tender neck area.
Dehydration is a common symptom of acute diarrhea, but even if your child seems fairly hydrated he may still be very ill.
The frequent watery stools can cause dehydration, malnutrition, and electrolyte imbalances. To prevent these symptoms from happening, keep your child well-hydrated by offering him small amounts of fluids frequently.
If he seems thirsty or very lethargic seek medical attention immediately. Dehydration could lead to seizures or coma within a day or two after developing acute diarrhea.
At its worst children suffering from chronic diarrhea will dehydrate quickly without enough fluid intake for their bodies to function properly due to loss of body water content or third spacing (fluid loss from tissue spaces)
Acute respiratory infections are among the most common diseases in children worldwide.
They result from viral, bacterial, or fungal causes; allergies; or an abnormality of lung development (known as bronchopulmonary dysplasia).
Pneumonia is a major cause of death for children worldwide. The elderly have a higher risk of developing pneumonia than do younger people.
Worldwide, pneumonia is responsible for two million deaths per year. More than 80 percent of all pneumonia cases occur between 6 months and 5 years old, mostly among those under 2 years old.
It’s common for children between three months and five years old to experience bronchitis.
Often, kids who have been exposed to a virus will come down with bronchitis, which makes them cough more than usual.
Babies can’t communicate how they feel so it’s important that parents know how to spot symptoms of an illness. The first sign that your child might be developing bronchitis is if they start coughing more than usual.
If your baby seems congested or is producing phlegm, contact their pediatrician immediately as these can be signs of an illness like bronchitis.
If you notice your infant coughing at night when they usually sleep through it, consult a doctor as well because infants can become tired if they’re fighting an infection.
Symptoms of an ear infection include redness, pain, tenderness, heat, and/or drainage from your child’s ear.
If you notice these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.
Ear infections are very common in children—about 30 percent of children will have at least one by age five—but they can cause hearing loss or brain damage if left untreated.
You can decrease your child’s risk of getting an ear infection by ensuring he or she gets enough sleep (10 hours per night) and avoids smoking during pregnancy.
Ear infections can also be easily prevented with frequent hand washing to prevent colds and flu that may lead to them.
A cold is one of those wait-and-see situations.
If your child seems uncomfortable, then he or she might be sick with a cold, but it’s also easy for them to just have a stuffy nose or cough that goes away on its own.
In that case, you can do little other than wait it out.
Taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) can help soothe your child’s symptoms. Make sure to speak with your pediatrician before giving these medications to children under 2 years old.
That’s because they could cause complications for younger kids; infants aren’t able to break down ibuprofen like older children and adults are.
When a fever is present, it’s important for parents to keep track of their child’s temperature.
A low-grade fever isn’t necessarily something that needs medical attention but rather an indication that your child is fighting an infection.
Take your child’s temperature with a thermometer as directed by your doctor or healthcare provider, generally every four hours during peak times of illness.
If you have concerns about your child’s symptoms or have been told he has a higher-than-normal body temperature, don’t hesitate to call your pediatrician for advice.