Think of the Children: Common Pediatric Illnesses—and How to Deal with Them

Sick little boy on a bed restLet’s face it—children have an immune system that is not yet as strong and developed as it could be.

That’s because children haven’t yet been exposed to many infections, which means they are far more prone to illnesses compared to adults who have built up immunity to viruses and bacteria. It doesn’t help that children tend to put anything and everything in their mouth – they also touch everything and play close to each other, too.

It’s a constant battle to take care of a sick child. Still, the more armed you are with facts, the better prepared you’ll be once illness strikes. With that, here are some of the most common illnesses among children—and a few tips on how to handle them:

Common Cold

Normally, children have five to eight—sometimes more—colds per year. A cough may likewise be a symptom of the common cold.

Treat the child’s fever, cough, sore throat, and nasal congestion with lots of fluid and rest. Often, kids recover within a week, but if the child cannot eat or is having difficulty breathing, suggests that you call a doctor immediately.


The varicella virus causes chickenpox—a condition distinguished by fluid-filled blisters and a rash all over the body. Its symptoms include a headache, fever, and stomachache.

Fortunately, the incidence of chickenpox is low, as vaccination against the illness has become routine and it’s rare to see regular cases, these days. But when it occurs, see a doctor immediately, as the infection may lead to further complications like pneumonia and bacterial skin infections.

Seasonal Allergies and Skin Allergies

Seasonal allergies are the bane of many children. Common symptoms of the condition are puffy eyes, sneezing, and a runny nose. Skin allergies and associated atopic dermatitis occur frequently in kids as well.

While there’s no cure, there are medications like antihistamines that could lessen the symptoms. These can be taken orally, topically, or used as nasal sprays and even eye drops.

Whooping Cough

A whooping cough is a bacterial infection that affects the respiratory system. Caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis, the condition’s symptoms include long coughing, nasal discharge, fever, vomiting, and wheezy breathing.

Fresh air and antibiotic treatment is often the way to go.

Being a parent comes with plenty of challenges, but taking care of a sick child is, perhaps, the most challenging of them all. If you feel overwhelmed, know that childhood illnesses often come with the territory. The best things you can really do are to keep your child in good overall health, read up and arm yourself with knowledge, and more importantly, talk to a doctor.

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