Common illnesses in children: causes, symptoms, and treatment

Common illnesses

The health of children is of utmost importance, so as a parent, it’s essential to be aware of common illnesses in youth and how to best treat them. There are a range of frequent ailments that strike in different age groups and differ in severity. Knowing their causes, symptoms and available treatments can be the difference between prevention and prolonged sickness.

Common Colds

One of the most common illnesses seen in children from infancy to adolescence is the common cold. This viral infection causing congestion, coughing, sore throats, and runny noses affects up to 10 colds annually in children age 5 – 7 and up to 8 in adolescents 8 – 16. Colds are contracted through close contact with individuals who are ill and can leave children more susceptible to secondary bacterial infections. Furthermore, the common cold virus can survive up to 3 hours on hard surfaces and is incredibly selective.

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Treating the Common Cold

The common cold has no precise cure, so treatment for its accompanying symptoms is key to acceleration of recovery. Over-the-counter cold medications can generally be taken safely, though it’s important to read the label and ensure the dosage is suitable for the child’s age. Most importantly, adequate rest and hydration are the best remedies to help soothe the effects of a common cold.

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Influenza (Flu)

Another viral infection, Influenza, but more often referred to as the ‘Flu’, shares many similarities with the common cold, such as fever, sore throat, and sneezing, though in more severe cases, muscle aches and exhaustion are common side-effects. Influenza can last anywhere from a few days to well over a week, making it more intense than the common cold. It can also be contracted more easily due to its ability to travel from person to person in the air.

Treating the Flu

In severe cases, hospitalisation may be advised as immediate treatment is key for an effective recovery. Antiviral medications can reduce the duration and spread of the virus and should be taken at the earliest sign of symptoms. Hospitalisation can also provides access to iv fluids to assist with hydration. Above all, the best defense for children against influenza is the Flu Vaccine.

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Health and Wellness

If you’re a parent of a young child, ensuring their health and wellness should be a priority. Taking the right precautions can mean the difference between prevention and a trip to the doctors’. Ensuring children are eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting appropriate amounts of sleep supplies the body with a strong foundation to fight off illnesses of all sorts, both contagious and non-contagious. When they do, inevitably fall ill, making sure to quickly and appropriately administer appropriate treatments should aid toward a fast recovery.

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