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Common Childhood Illnesses


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There's nothing worse than having a sick child. As a parent you wonder what they have, how you should treat it and should you take them to the doctor? It is important to educate yourself about the symptoms of common illnesses. Here are some, but not all, common childhood illnesses.

Ear Infections

More than 80 percent of children have at least one episode of otitis media by the time they are 3 years of age. Children often develop ear infections after the onset of a cold. Here are some common symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping or staying asleep
  • Tugging or pulling at one or both ears
  • Fever
  • Fluid draining from ear(s)
  • Loss of balance
  • Hearing difficulties
  • Ear pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Congestion


    Food and airborne allergies can cause many problems for young children.
    The following are the most common symptoms of airborne allergies otherwise known as allergic rhinitis:

  • Sneezing
  • Congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy nose, throat, eyes, and ears
  • Nosebleeds
  • Clear drainage from the nose

    Food Allergies

    Allergic symptoms may begin within minutes to an hour after ingesting the food. Here are some symptoms of food allergies:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Cramps
  • Hives
  • Swelling
  • Eczema
  • Itching or swelling of the lips, tongue, or mouth
  • Itching or tightness in the throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Lowered blood pressure


    The croup is caused by a virus and usually effects children from the ages of 3 months to 5 years. As the disease progresses down the respiratory tract, the symptoms also change and may include:

  • A runny nose, congestion, and slight cough
  • A cough develops into a “seal's bark"
  • Laryngitis
  • Fever
  • Strider, this is a high-pitched sound that is usually noted as the child breathes in (inspiration), although it can also be heard as the child breathes out (expiration).


    Influenza is called a respiratory disease, but the whole body seems to suffer when a child has it. Children usually become suddenly ill with any or all of the following symptoms:

  • Fever, which may be as high as 103° F to 105° F
  • Aches and pains
  • Not feeling well “all over"
  • Headache
  • Cough that is nonproductive
  • Sore throat
  • Stuffy nose or clear nose
  • Worsening cough
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue


    Many viruses cause roseola. The most common cause is the human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6). It occurs mostly in children under the age of 3. It may take between five to 15 days for a child to develop symptoms of roseola after being exposed to the disease. A child is probably most contagious during the period of high fever, before the rash occurs. The following are the most common symptoms of roseola:

  • High fever that starts abruptly
  • Fever (may last three to four days)
  • Irritability
  • Swelling of the eyes
  • Rash (As the fever decreases, a pink rash, with either flat or raised lesions, starts to appear on the trunk and then spreads to the face, arms, and legs. )
  • Contact Dermatitis

    Contact dermatitis is a physiological reaction that occurs after skin comes in contact with certain substances such as soap, saliva, detergents, lotions or perfumes. Symptoms may include:

  • Mild redness and swelling of the skin
  • Blistering of the skin
  • Itching
  • Scaling and temporary thickening of skin

    Pharyngitis and Tonsillitis

    The symptoms of pharyngitis and tonsillitis depend greatly on the cause of the infection and the person affected. Strep throat, a common childhood illness falls under this category. Symptoms may include:

  • Sore throat
  • Fever (either low-grade or high)
  • Headache
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Not feeling well
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach aches
  • Painful swallowing
  • Visual redness or drainage in the throat

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