Health conditions of children and adults vary not just in their type but also their intensity and overall symptoms. As parents, it is very necessary to understand some of the common health issues in children, their causes and effective treatment to ensure the safety of children.
Some of the common health issues that mostly affect children include:
Sore Throat: Sore throats are very common in children and can often be very painful, if not treated adequately. The problem is caused by a virus and lasts for about 7-10 days, but in cases where the infection is more severe, the problem can intensify to cause a strep throat which is an advanced bacterial infection that makes the throat feel sore and scratchy. If not treated well in time, the bacterial infection can worsen to affect the kidneys and cause rheumatic fever. Babies and toddlers are at very low risk of getting a strep throat unless they are in close contact with someone who has the illness.
Ear Pain: Another very common health issue in children is ear pain, which has no definitive cause and could be because of multiple factors such as ear infection, swimmer’s ear (which impacts the ear canal). sinus infection, pressure on-ear because of cold, teeth pain travelling to the ear, fluid behind the eardrum, allergy, etc. Children under 5 years of age are at a higher risk of contracting ear infections, especially after an upper respiratory infection such as a cold. Earaches can be easily treated with antibiotics and usually do not become severe enough to cause more problems.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTIs): Urinary tract infections occur when the bacteria enter the bladder or the kidneys of the child causing problematic symptoms such as pain and urgency in urination, blood in urine, pelvic pain, abdominal discomfort, fever, vomiting, bedwetting, etc. Children suffering from UTIs can also experience excessive mood swings and tend to get extremely fussy. These infections mostly impact children between their teens and adulthood. They are easily treatable with shorter drug courses.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV): A RSV is a common health condition in children in which the airways become infected. The problem is not serious unless the child is under 2 years of age or has a weak immune system or a health condition affecting the lungs and heart. In the latter, an RSV causes inflammation of the lungs, which can lead to pneumonia. Some symptoms include runny nose, nasal congestion, cough, breathing problem, irritability, etc.
Fifth Disease: This disease is common amongst children of ages between 5 to 15 years. However, the problem is highly common and contagious, leading to a prominent face rash. The rash appears as if the cheeks were slapped and can spread throughout the body. Sore throat, low fever, upset stomach, headache, weakness, itching, joint pain, swollen joints, etc. are some of the common symptoms of the problem. The condition is usually benign unless the child has sickle anaemia disease or a weak immune system, in which case, the problem can intensify to cause problems.
Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease: Children under the age of 5 years usually contact the common disease through saliva, fluid from blisters, or a viral shredding through stool. Symptoms include fever, sore throat, lack of appetite, painful sores, skin rash on the palms and soles, among others. The condition usually resolves on its own in 7 to 10 days, without any treatment. However, in the case where the condition develops severely, medical treatment may be required.
Croup: Croup is a condition which affects the windpipe and voice box, and is mostly caused by viruses that last for a week or a lower period. Symptoms usually include runny nose, fever, cold-like symptoms, barky cough, stridor, etc. The sings tend to get worse at night and can be benefitted with inhaling of moist air through streamer. In case, the breathing difficulties intensify or eating or drinking issues persist, the child might need immediate medical care, to reduce the swelling in the airways.
Scarlet Fever: Once a deadly disease, scarlet fever is caused by a bacterial infection of group A strep. The condition is now easily treatable and has symptoms such as sore throat, scarlet-coloured rash around the neck or face, which can spread across the body.
Impetigo: A type of skin infection which usually affects the mouth, nose and hands, though can affect any other area of the body. Impetigo is caused when strep bacteria has a cut, scratch or a bite; the disease is more common in young children; however, it can impact children of all ages. Symptoms include tiny blisters that burst easily, oozing out a fluid which forms a crust that appears like a coat of honey. Touching the affected impetigo area can spread the blisters to other parts of the body and also can be very itchy. The treatment is simple and generally involves antibiotic ointments or oral medications.
Kawasaki Disease: In this disease, the blood vessels of the entire body are inflamed due to an identified cause. The condition is rare; however, it is more likely to impact Asian or Pacific Island boys under the age of 5. In cases, where the condition is not timely or adequately treated, it can start to affect the arteries of the heart, which can lead to severe complications and long-term effects. Some of the common symptoms include long-lasting fever, red eyes, rash or redness on the hands and feet, rashes on the body, swollen lymph nodes, red lips or tongue. Kawasaki disease cannot be prevented but can be effectively treated provided it is diagnosed timely before complications start to impact the child.
Apart from these, there are several other medical health conditions which can commonly impact children. But these conditions are easily treatable provided they are diagnosed with timely and effective medical care is received.