Symptoms and Treatment of Common Child Ailments
Childrens Health > Symptoms and Treatment of Common Child Ailments
Have you ever had a sick child but didn’t know if you should worry about the symptoms you are seeing? Most of the time, a sick child will get better in a few days with no more than rest, extra liquids and possibly a dose of Tylenol or two. Here are some of the common ailments that afflict children’s health and what symptoms you can expect.
Bronchitis – This is the inflammation of bronchial tubes, sometimes the windpipe and trachea, usually caused by a virus (but occasionally by bacteria).
Symptoms: Most commonly, bronchitis has the same symptoms as the common cold. Other symptoms can include onset of fever around 102 degrees, harsh cough that normally worsens at night, wheezing, and phlegm. Rarely you may see a bluish tinting of the lips and fingernails.
Treatment: Increase clear fluids in the child’s diet; treat cold symptoms with fever reducers and cough medicines as needed. If the symptoms persist for more than 3 days and are severe, call your doctor. Antibiotics may be necessary for treatment.
Common Cold – The common cold is frequently the diagnosis when a child becomes ill. Due to their immature immune systems, children are highly susceptible to all the different cold viruses.
Symptoms: Generally, the common cold is the combination of runny nose, sneezing and nasal congestion. Coughing, fever, sore throat and loss of appetite are also common symptoms.
Treatment: Increase clear fluids in the child’s diet. Since there is no known ‘cure’ for the common cold, symptoms are treated with suctioning of the nose, moistening of the air with humidifiers to make breathing easier, decongestants and cough medicines, and nose drops.
Conjunctivitis – Also know as ‘pink eye’, conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the lining of the eye. There are many causes for this ailment that include viruses, bacteria, allergens, irritants, parasites and blocked tear ducts.
Symptoms: Bloodshot eyes; eyes that burn and itch; frequent, persistent tearing; and sensitivity to light. Easily spreads from one eye to the other.
Treatment: Use warm compresses and eye soaks; wash bedclothes and towels frequently to avoid spreading and reinfection, and eliminate allergens like tobacco smoke, if possible. If condition does not improve or worsens, call your doctor and prescription drops or ointment may have to be administered to eliminate the infection.
Influenza – Commonly know as the flu, or upper respiratory infection, influenza is caused by a variety of influenza viruses.
Symptoms: Fever of between 100.4 and 104 degrees; dry cough turning into productive cough; vomiting and diarrhea. Common, but less frequent, symptoms include headache, aches and pains, neck stiffness and fatigue. Although rare, influenza can do serious damage to your central nervous system and heart.
Treatment: Increase clear fluids in the child’s diet; treat cold symptoms with fever reducers and cough medicines as needed. (Do not give aspirin!) It is very important to call your doctor if your child is under 6 months of age or if the symptoms are severe or last more than 3 days. Antiviral drugs may be prescribed in these instances.
Viral Sore Throat or Strep Throat – Viral sore throats are caused by various viruses, while strep throat is caused by group A streptococcus bacteria.
Symptoms: Low grade to moderate fever up to 103 degrees; inflammation of the throat; throat pain and discomfort; fussiness and irritability. In some rare instances, there are no symptoms noticed at all.
Treatment: A throat culture needs to be done in order to diagnose strep throat, so a visit to your doctor when your child experiences throat pain is recommended. Antibiotics may be prescribed when strep throat is the diagnosis. Other symptoms are treated with pain relievers like acetaminophen. (Do not give aspirin!) Increase clear fluids in the child’s diet and offer soft, cold foods.
Although these are the ailments you will see most often in your children, this list is not a definitive list of illness you will face. When in doubt, always call your children’s health care provider for advice.