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  • 7 Of The Most Common Childhood Diseases: Know How To Prevent And Treat Them

    Some of these can be preventable with the help of vaccines.
    by Kate Borbon .
7 Of The Most Common Childhood Diseases: Know How To Prevent And Treat Them
PHOTO BY iStock
  • Because of their underdeveloped immune systems and high exposure to germs, children are more vulnerable to illness. Kids also have a habit of touching everything they see and then putting their hands in their mouths, which make them an easy target of infection and develop diseases.

    7 common childhood diseases

    While it’s hard to protect children from getting sick completely without putting them in a bubble, parents can lessen their kids’ risk of infection by knowing the symptoms of common childhood diseases and how to manage them. Learn about some of those illnesses and how to handle their symptoms below.

    Colds

    According to the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP), colds are some of the most common childhood diseases; a child can experience between six and eight bouts of the cold every year. Symptoms of a cold include a cough, congestion, and a runny nose. Kids usually recover from a cold within five to seven days, says Parents. Drinking lots of fluids and rest are often advised.

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    Treatment: The AAP says that antibiotics should not be used to treat common colds. However, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics if your child is suspected of having a sinus infection. Parents adds that you may use saline drops or spray to moisturize your child’s nasal passageways and an aspirator to get rid of excess mucus.

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    Ear pain

    Another common childhood disease is ear pain, which can be caused by factors like an ear infection or pressure from a cold or sinus infection, says the AAP. To know what’s causing your child’s ear pain, she’ll have to be examined by a doctor.

    Treatment: The AAP says doctors prefer using amoxicillin to treat middle ear infections. However, ear infections can also be caused by viruses. In this case, antibiotics are not needed, and you’ll have to talk to your doctor about how to relieve your child’s ear pain.

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    Hand, foot, and mouth disease

    Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a contagious viral infection characterized by sores in the mouth and a rash on the hands and feet, according to Mayo Clinic. Parents says this disease can spread through touch, coughs, sneezes, and fecal matter.

    Treatment: Mayo Clinic says there is no specific treatment for hand, foot, and mouth disease. However, to ease your child’s symptoms, Parents recommends giving your child ice pops and cold fluids. Remember to watch for signs of dehydration since kids with this disease might resist drinking due to their sores.

    Pink eye

    Another type of common childhood disease is pink eye (conjunctivitis), the inflammation of the tissue lining the eyelids, which can cause symptoms like redness, crusty eyes, and yellow discharge. According to Parents, pink eye is usually caused by a bacterial infection, though it can also result from a virus.

    Treatment: KidsHealth says pink eye caused by a virus goes away with no need for treatment, while pink eye caused by bacteria can be treated using antibiotic eye drops. Because the pink eye is contagious, kids need to wash their hands, avoid touching their eyes, stop sharing her towels, blankets, or pillows. Parents also advises not letting her go to school until she has been treated for at least 24 hours.

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    Chickenpox

    According to the AAP, chickenpox is a highly contagious disease caused by the virus varicella-zoster. Most kids who get chickenpox develop symptoms like fever and an itchy, blister-like rash on various parts of the body.

    Treatment: To ease your child’s symptoms, the AAP advises giving her acetaminophen to reduce fever and bathing her with soap and water to help decrease the itch. Prevent her from scratching the rashes since doing so can make the rash infected with bacteria and leave scars. The best way to protect her from chickenpox is through the varicella vaccine.

    Diarrhea

    Diarrhea, or frequent soft and loose bowel movements, can be caused by factors like a virus, food poisoning, or eating something you’re allergic to. HealthDirect writes that the color of the poop can vary, and it can give off a rancid smell. The child might also have stomach pain.

    Treatment: If your child has diarrhea, HealthDirect advises keeping her at home and having her drink lots of fluids like water, breast milk, or formula. Avoid giving her any medicines without talking to your doctor first.

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    Flu

    One type of common childhood disease is the flu, described by Johns Hopkins Medicine as a contagious infection that affects the air passages of the lungs. Its symptoms include fever, cough, and body aches. While most kids who get the flu can recover within a week, some might get more seriously ill and need to be hospitalized.

    Treatment: Johns Hopkins Medicine says flu treatment can depend on a child’s symptoms, age, and general health, and how severe her illness is. A doctor might prescribe medicine to lessen fever and body aches and to shorten the length of the illness. The best way to protect your child from the flu is through the flu vaccine.

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