Common Childhood Illnesses and How to Treat Them

Please note that the writer of this article is not a medical professional and this article is not a substitute for medical advice. Please always consult a medical professional if you or your children are unwell.

Children are naturally predisposed to some ailments because their immune systems are still developing. For example, in the UK, a child can get the common cold about 6 to 10 times a year. While some kids’ health conditions such as acute constipation are alarming and require rushing to the emergency room, others aren’t and can be handled once you contact an online GP. Nonetheless, because you never know what to expect when a child is unwell, your first point of call must be to seek expert medical help without solely depending on home remedies. Here are some common childhood illnesses and how with your physician’s help, you can treat them. 

  1. Sore throat

Sore throats are quite common in kids and are usually caused by bacteria or a virus. When it’s virus-related, there’s usually no need for antibiotics as it will run its course and resolve on its own. It usually takes seven to ten days for a child to recover from a sore throat. 

You can determine if your child is experiencing a sore throat in several ways. First of all, it depends on how old they are and their ability to communicate with you. You’ll notice constant crying and a low-grade fever for kids under two years, calculated from 37.5°C to 38.3°C. Any value above 38.3°C is an immediate cause for concern, and it’s advisable to give your child a bath and paracetamol syrup to reduce the rising body heat. It’s worth noting that uncontrolled temperature spikes can cause seizures. As a preventive measure, always sterilise your child’s toys while you take steps to prevent them from sticking their fingers in their mouths.

  1. Ear pain

Children experience ear pain a lot more because the tube connecting the inner ear to the throat is short. The Eustachian tube lies diagonally in an adult and aids in efficient fluid drainage. However, because it’s shorter in kids, its diagonal positioning is impaired, causing fluid retention. Ultimately, fluid in this tube attracts bacteria and progresses into an inner ear infection known as Otitis Media.

Usually, an antibiotic prescribed by the paediatrician can help resolve the infection. In young children yet to express physical pain with words, you’ll notice that a slight tugging of the affected ear causes pain. In other circumstances, you may see fluid drainage from the affected ear. The risk of ear infections arises when a child contracts the common cold or has some teeth cutting through the gum. 

  1. Common cold

Common cold or catarrh is caused by an invasion of viruses within your child’s upper respiratory tract. According to a Reuters survey, kids in the United Kingdom can contract colds at least six times and a maximum of ten times within twelve months. However, this statistic shouldn’t alarm you, as your kids’ immune systems are still developing. Sometimes, it can be challenging to differentiate a common cold from a sinus infection, although normal flu can progress into the latter if you don’t treat it promptly.  

The defining difference is that a sinus infection symptom lasts longer than the common cold. If your child has a cold, usually the best you can do is control any fever present as you give a mild analgesic (in syrup form). The dosage administered must correspond with your child’s age; you can contact the Paediatrician for advice on dosage. Additionally, increase their fluid intake to aid quick recovery. It’s also necessary to boost your child’s Vitamin C intake to build immunity against infections. 

  1. Cough

Unless the doctor advised it, you must never decide to administer an over-the-counter cough syrup to your child on your own. Medical research has proven that these medications are ineffective in children under four years. Moreover, due to the increased risks of severe side effects in children, you must be conscious of this fact. You can use safe home remedies such as the following:

  • Letting them drink more water to stay hydrated
  • Elevating their head when they sleep
  • Using a humidifier to infuse moisture in indoor air, as moisture loosens up mucus

If you’re a parent or guardian, you may have seen your kids experience some of the illnesses listed above. However, no matter how common these illnesses may seem, it’s always recommended to call your child’s paediatrician or visit a health facility to be on the safer side. Additionally, remember to teach your children practical hygiene tips, so they can also take good care of themselves, especially when they’re outdoors.

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