5 Common Childhood Illnesses

Caring for a child suffering from a sickness is one of the most challenging and sometimes heart-breaking situations any parent can find themselves in, despite the help that is available. So what are the most frequent illnesses that can face the family?

Childhood Illnesses

Tonsillitis

Causes: this infection of the tonsils in the back of the throat is usually caused by a virus, but can be passed on by bacteria.

Symptoms: sore throat, coughing, red swollen tonsils, fever, painful swallowing and headache.

Age: children from 5 to 15 are most likely to suffer from tonsillitis.

Passed on: by sneezing, coughing and otherwise passing on infected saliva through bodily contact.

Treatment: see your doctor who may prescribe throat sprays, paracetamol or other anti-histamine pain-killers. In serious cases the tonsils will have to be removed.

Chicken pox

Causes: viral infection affecting the skin of the child.

Symptoms: headache, fever and a distinctive red rash that turns into blisters.

Age: usually affects children under the age of 10.

Passed on: highly contagious through direct contact with blisters, but also spread by breathing in the virus.

Treatment: lotions for blister will stop them from being irritated and paracetamol will relieve the fever and headache.

Scarlet fever

Causes: bacterial infection often mistaken in its early form as a skin or throat infection.

Symptoms: fever, red face and rough irritated skin.

Age: children from 4 to 8 are most at risk. After 10 most children are naturally immune.

Passed on: by touching any surface coated with the bacteria.

Treatment: Doctors will normally provide antibiotics. If treatment is delayed for over a week, rheumatic fever and kidney problems can develop.

Gastroenteritis

Causes: this virus affects the child’s gastric tract.

Symptoms: diarrhoea, vomiting, fever and stomach pains.

Age: any child can fall ill with this virus.

Passed on: by ingesting infected food or water, touching a person who is infected.

Treatment: drink plenty of fluid, take your child to your family doctor if you find blood in your child’s stool, or if vomiting and diarrhoea become excessive in a 24-hour period.

Flu

Causes: a common seasonal virus that infects the throat, nose and ears.

Symptoms: runny nose, fever, headache, muscle pain, coughing.

Age: a child of any age can suffer from this illness.

Passed on: by breathing in the virus or touching an infected surface and then transferring the virus to the face.

Treatment: in serious cases where your child’s breathing becomes difficult, visit your doctor. Otherwise, paracetamol is known to be effective against flu symptoms, until the virus is fought off naturally by the body.

Further advice

When in doubt, make sure you contact your family doctor for the correct guidance. If you feel you have not had a satisfactory response from your doctor and your child’s health has suffered as a result, you may need to see a Medical Solicitor who will be able to give you the appropriate legal advice.

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