Most common childhood illness

Illness, diseases and medical conditions most commonly found among children.

Chickenpox is a mild and common childhood illness, but can also occur in adults. Cool baths, loose comfortable clothes and calamine lotion can all ease the itchiness from chickenpox.

Coughs, colds and ear infections in children: It’s normal for a child to have 8 or more colds per year.

Croup is an upper airway infection that blocks breathing and has a distinctive barking cough. Croup targets the windpipe and voice box. It is most often caused by viruses, and lasts for a week or less. Its very common in children under 5 years old. 200,000 US cases per year.

Usually starts with a sudden onset of barky cough and stridor, which gets worse at night,
Runny nose,
Other cold-like symptoms,

Use a cool mist humidifier or run a hot shower, and sit with your child in the steamed-up bathroom for 10 minutes. Breathing in moist air is always good.  Also if it is a cool, moist night take your child outside with a coat and hat and let her breathe in the night air. Steroids, cool mist and breathing treatments are sometimes given to decrease airway swelling.

Diarrhea and vomiting

Fever and high temperature are quite common in young children and usually they are mild.

Food allergies : Does your family have a history of eczema, asthma, hay fever or food allergies?  Peanut allergy can cause a serious reaction in children.

Measles : Anyone can get measles if they haven't been vaccinated (MMR) or haven't had measles before, but it's most common in kids.

Mumps is a contagious viral infection, most common in children between 5 and 15 years. Mumps is most common in children. These days it’s rare thanks to effective immunization (MMR).

Rubella (also known as German measles) is best prevented by the MMR vaccination. Mild fever of 100.4 degrees F or more is a common symptom of rubella.

Whooping cough (Pertussis) is a highly contagious bacterial infection and most serious in babies. Whooping cough is serious in babies. Anyone can catch this bacterial infection of the lungs and breathing tubes, but infants  under 12 months old are the most likely to get seriously ill from it.

Cold-like symptoms
few days later cough gets worse, and a “whooping” sound may be heard as child gasps for air.

Antibiotics can sometimes help by easing the symptoms, if treated early. Babies are often hospitalized so staff can monitor their breathing.

It is very easy to catch. Your baby should start getting vaccines at 2 months old. Parents and older children need to get vaccinated to protect the baby. A woman should also get a pertussis shot while she is pregnant. Pertussis lasts five years and would still be effective during other pregnancies during that time.

RSV : Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is an infection of the airways. It usually isn’t serious, but if your child is under 2, or has a heart or lung disease or a weak immune system, it can inflame the lungs and cause pneumonia.

Cold-like symptoms such as runny nose, nasal congestion and cough
Irritability and breathing problems in infants
Talk with your doctor about ways to ease your child’s symptoms. A drug called palivizumab (Synagis) can be used to prevent RSV in high risk infants.

Fifth Disease
Another viral illness, fifth disease is common in kids ages 5 to 15.

A child with sickle cell anemia or a weak immune system can become very ill from fifth disease. It can also be serious in pregnant women.

Low fever
Cold symptoms (like runny nose)
Swollen joints
A few days later a bright red rash appears, usually on the face, then spreads down the body. By the time the rash appears, the illness is no longer contagious. It can take 1 to 3 weeks for the rash to go away. In some children, the rash may itch, and the joints may ache.

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease
This contagious viral illness usually isn’t serious. Children under age 5 are most likely to catch it, through saliva, fluid from blisters and possibly viral shedding through stool.

Sore throat
Poor appetite
A few days later Painful sores may develop in the back of the throat & Skin rash typically on the palms and soles can occur, but can also occur on the trunk and diaper region. It usually clears up in 7 to 10 days without treatment.

Scarlet Fever: This bacterial infection is caused by group A strep.  (It was once a deadly disease, but now it’s easily treatable.)

Sore throat
Scarlet-colored rash around the neck and face that may spread to the rest of the body.
If the strep test is positive, it is important to treat it with a round of antibiotics to prevent rare but serious complications.

Impetigo: This skin infection is most common in younger children. It starts when staph or strep bacteria gets in a cut, scratch, or bite. It can affect any area of the body but happens most often around the mouth, nose, and hands. Babies sometimes get the irritation in their diaper area.

Tiny blisters that burst. Fluid from the sores creates a crust that looks like a coat of honey.
Touching or scratching the sores, which can be itchy, spreads impetigo to other parts of the body and to other people.

An antibiotic ointment, and sometimes an oral antibiotic, can treat it.

Kawasaki Disease: This childhood illness inflames blood vessels throughout the body. It is very rare, and the cause is unknown. Boys under age 5 of Asian or Pacific Island descent are most likely to get it. Most get well within weeks. But if it affects the arteries to the heart, it can cause serious, long term problems.

Fever that lasts 5 or more days,
Red eyes,
Red lips or tongue and redness on the hands and feet,
Swollen lymph node,
There is no way to prevent this disease, but it is not contagious. Early treatment is key.

Reye’s Syndrome: This very rare illness can come on suddenly. Children under age 15 who are getting over a viral illness like chickenpox or the flu are most likely to get it. It can be serious and cause damage to the liver and brain.

Lack of energy,
Irritability or aggression,
Later Irrational behavior, Confusion, Seizures
The best way to treat Reye's syndrome is to prevent it. It is strongly linked to aspirin, so never give your child or teen aspirin, especially for a viral illness.