As a parent, you know how frequently your children get sick. A multitude of reasons contributes to children getting ill. These include poor immunity, constant exposure to dirt, germs, and less-than-perfect hygiene practices. However, these common bugs and viruses have simple prevention tips that can help you protect your child.
Here’s a guide to understanding why children get ill more frequently and how you can protect them from these diseases.
Reasons why children get ill frequently
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You may notice your child being in the claws of a common disease for the following reasons:
- Kids in the exploration stage touch and put things in their mouths without knowing their pros and cons. This includes toys, dirt, and other objects in sight and reach.
- Further, not washing hands after touching contaminated items can cause infections.
- Children have lesser resistance to infection than adults.
- Exposure to viruses and bacteria
Since their immunity hasn’t matured, children face trouble warding off viruses and bacteria. This is why they get many common diseases, listed in the next section.
Common childhood illnesses and prevention
Here’s a list of diseases children face when they’re young and how to prevent them:
1. Common cold
Getting attacked by a cold is typical for children several times a year. Contrary to the general belief , cold doesn’t happen due to children getting wet or out in cold weather. It is an airborne disease that spreads through coughing and sneezing.
The common cold leaves the following symptoms in children and adults:
- Runny nose
- Constant coughing or sneezing
- A sore throat
- Aching body
- A feeling of fatigue and tiredness
A person or child infected with a cold can get well by resting for a few days. Further, when kids feel more stuffy and uncomfortable, parents can give over-the-counter medications prescribed by the doctor. These include decongestants, antihistamines, fever relievers, etc., in appropriate dosages. You should visit a doctor if the symptoms don’t leave even after a week.
Parents can prevent their children from catching colds by practising regular hand washing. Further, avoiding contact with ailing individuals will also help reduce the probability of getting ill.
2. The Flu
The common cold and flu have similar symptoms, but the latter is more severe. The flu season falls in the winter months, wherein viruses spread easily. When children get infected with the flu, the following symptoms will appear:
- High running fever and shivering
- Severe body aches, headaches, and pains
- Vomiting or nausea
- Sore throat and cough
Usually, doctors run tests to confirm the flu attack and prescribe medicines accordingly. They also advise children to stay away from school to get significant body rest that can prevent the spreading of the virus. It is advisable to reach a doctor immediately if there’s trouble breathing or a fever of over 103 F for toddlers and 101 F for 3-6 month babies for more than three days.
Getting a flu vaccine every year is one of the best ways to protect your child from the virus. The vaccine shot builds the necessary immunity in the child to ward off the virus.
3. Strep throat
Another common childhood infection among kids is strep throat, known as streptococcal pharyngitis. This bacterial infection leads to a swollen and sore throat among children. Seeing a doctor becomes necessary for strep throat because medicines effectively treat the problem.
Strep bacteria travels through the air from the cough and sneeze of a sick person. Further, touching the shared surfaces with that of an ill individual can also lead to this issue. Due to strep throat, the following problems happen:
- Itchy or sore throat
- Tonsils get red or inflamed
- Swallowing issues
Strep throat can be treated in the family doctor’s office. They can prescribe antibiotics, preferred dosages, time, etc. Completing the antibiotics treatment is crucial even after the kid gets better. It is because if any bacteria remains, it can multiply, and cause sickness again.
Washing hands regularly is one way to prevent this problem. Further, kids should learn not to share utensils they use to eat, drink or food with other people. Parents should wash the lunchboxes and utensils in soapy hot water daily.
Chickenpox is the last on the list of common childhood ailments. The disease causes itchy red spots on the entire body of the kid. Since it is an airborne disease, it can spread through sneezing and coughing from an infected person. This disease can have varying symptoms, from mild to severe, and even death for weak immunity children.
Chickenpox shows the following symptoms when it infects a person:
- Red and itchy rashes on various body parts, including the face, torso, arms, legs, etc.
- No appetite
- Tiredness without any reason
The telltale red spots on the body are how doctors examine this disease. Medicines like acetaminophen and lotions can cause soothing effects on the skin. Consult a doctor if the symptoms worsen, last more than a week, or cause difficulty breathing.
Chickenpox vaccine or varicella vaccine helps prevent this disease. The recommended age to get this shot is between 12- 15 months old kids. Follow it up with a booster shot at 4-6 years of age.
An Inguinal hernia is a condition where a portion of the intestine protrudes through a weak point in the abdominal wall in the inguinal (groin) area. It is more common in males and occurs when the lower belly develops abnormally. Signs of inguinal hernia in children include:
- a visible bulge in the groin area,
- pain or discomfort in the groin,
Inguinal hernias in children can typically be treated surgically, and early treatment is recommended to prevent complications. Hernias of the inguinal canal occur commonly among children who are born prematurely.
Preventing inguinal hernias in children can be challenging as the condition is often congenital, meaning it is present at birth. However, some steps can be taken to reduce the risk, such as maintaining a healthy pregnancy, avoiding exposing infants to cigarette smoke, properly lifting and carrying infants, keeping an eye on child development, and early treatment can help prevent complications and ensure a successful recovery. It’s also important to remember that in many cases, inguinal hernias in children are not visible until the child is around 6-12 months old, and it may not be possible to prevent them.
To know more, you can read this blog on reason why children wet their bed.
These common illnesses in childhood can be diagnosed and treated effectively with proper consultation from a doctor. However, practicing better hygiene, getting necessary vaccination shots, and regular hand washing will help keep these ailments at bay.