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6 Common Health Conditions in Children

Looking after your child’s wellbeing can make for busy work. Of course you want them to be healthy and strong, but chances are you’ll find yourself fending off a variety of harmful conditions as your little one grows older. Though they will be vaccinated against many potential threats, they’re likely to come down with one or more of the following common illnesses at some point. There’s no need to panic, as most of these are treatable – here’s how best to deal with them.

1. The Common Cold

Something of a classic, the common cold will make its presence felt in the form of a mild fever, coughing, congestion, runny nose and/or sore throat. The solution is a tried-and-tested straightforward method; plenty of fluids and rest as you wait for the virus to leave your child’s system. Most colds are caused by over 100 different air-based viruses that we can’t see. The cold is also the most common infectious disease, which is one reason why it’s recommended that your child stay home from school or crèche in the event of this illness.

2. Ear Infection

Extremely common at a young age; five out of six children will have at least one ear infection before they turn three years old. A regular reason for parents to visit the doctor, an ear infection is normally caused by bacteria that have built up behind the eardrum. Warning signs include trouble sleeping, feverish symptoms, crying, restlessness (including tugging at the ears) and difficulty with balance. Your doctor will prescribe treatment based on the cause of the infection; if it’s due to bacteria, an antibiotic will clear it up.

3. Tonsillitis

This next ailment is unfortunately very common in children. Tonsillitis is caused by either a bacterial or viral infection, and results in the tonsils – whose job is usually to filter air passing down into the airways – becoming inflamed, swollen and sore. The ailment is often accompanied by headache, loss of appetite and ear pain. A course of antibiotics is the usual treatment for tonsillitis; symptoms should start to improve within two or three days.

4. Gastroenteritis

Often referred to as a ‘stomach bug’, gastroenteritis can cause vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. As with the common cold, time is a major healer, as is resting up and drinking a lot of fluids, but not too much! Probiotics like Greek yoghurt are a good way of preventing gastroenteritis, as they develop healthy flora in the tummy.

5. Chickenpox

Another frequently seen, though seasonal childhood ailment (most commonly in children under 10 years old and usually between winter and spring months), chickenpox causes a rash of red, itchy spots on the skin that develop into fluid-filled blisters. There’s no cure unfortunately; the blisters scab up before finally dropping off, usually after a couple of weeks. Painkillers will help ease discomfort though – speak to your doctor about what’s best for your child. Absence from public areas is strongly encouraged, and although this is a mild illness, it’s an unpleasant one for a young child to deal with, so give them plenty of TLC!

6. Eczema

Unlike chickenpox, this skin condition is non-contagious. Like chickenpox, it is identified by sometimes painful itching and redness of the skin, often on the face, hands, arms and legs. Eczema can disrupt sleeping patterns and lead to infection if the skin isn’t properly cared for. Each case can be different and thus should be treated accordingly, depending on how mild or severe the symptoms are.