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    Ask any expectant parent if they have a preference for the gender of their child, and they’ll most likely tell you that it doesn’t really matter; all they want is for their child to be healthy. Health is the best form of wealth one can have.

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    Indeed, one of the biggest scares any parent can have is when their child gets sick. And although cough and colds can be quite common, it can cause us quite the worry if they seem to come back every so often. When should we worry about our kids’ recurring illness?

    According to David W. Kimberlin, M.D., a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the University of Alabama, “It’s normal for young kids to have quite a few colds, ear infections, or gastrointestinal upsets in a single year.” He tells Parents, “Children have an immature immune system. And they’re encountering all the viruses, bacteria, and other antigens in the world for the first time.”

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    What is normal? 

    Colds: about six to ten times a year

    Why it’s recurring: There are more than 100 viruses than can cause the common cold, and some kids may just have a stronger immune system than others, allowing them to fight it off. (Incidentally, an overly-clean environment harms your child more than it protects him.) An upper respiratory allergy may also make your child more susceptible to the common cold.

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    Watch out for: colds accompanied by fever and difficulty in breathing.

    Having a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is advisable to avoid the sniffles. Remember that smoke from cigarettes could trigger these symptoms, so avoid doing it inside your home.

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    Sore throat: once a year

    Why it’s recurring: The streptococcus pyogenes can be very contagious—and resistant to antibiotics. What’s more, when parents fail to give the complete round of antibiotics (giving meds for less than the prescribed number of days after seeing improvements), the bacteria does not go away completely.

    Watch out for: difficulty in swallowing, or excessive salivation

    Ask your doctor about the 10-day antibiotic instead of the usual 7, which may be more effective. 

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    Diarrhea: two to three times a year

    Why it’s recurring: Because kids normally put anything they find in their mouths, it is easy to ingest the highly-contagious rotavirus, which usually causes loose bowel. “And for young toddlers, the most common cause of frequent diarrhea is diet. Too much fruit juice makes the bowels pull in extra water,” says Margaret Fisher, M.D., chair of Monmouth Medical Center’s pediatric department in New Jersey.

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    Watch out for: dehydration and prolonged bouts of diarrhea

    Diarrhea may make your child’s tummy sensitive, so hold off on milk and fruit juices in the meantime.

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