Although common illnesses in young children typically aren’t that serious, it’s important to understand the signs, symptoms, and treatment so the illness is contained.
Young children are exposed to new germs and viruses almost everywhere they go. Because their immune systems are so new, they aren’t strong enough to fight off even mild infections. Knowing the signs and symptoms of common illnesses in children can help you make the best decision for their health.
In addition, if your child is sick and you are unaware, you risk spreading the illness to other children. This can be extremely harmful if a child they come into contact with has allergies or is immunocompromised.
Here is a list of the 10 most common illnesses in young children and recommendations for treatment:
1. Sore throat
Sore throats are very common in children. They can range from uncomfortable to painful. In most cases, you and your child will just have to ride it out until they feel better. Some children’s Motrin in the meantime can help.
However, if your child seems to be in a lot of pain, their throat appears to be red and swollen, or you see white patches on their tonsils, they may have Strep Throat. Strep Throat can only be diagnosed by a doctor and treated with antibiotics. Therefore, you should make an appointment with your pediatrician as soon as you suspect your child has Strep.
Strep Throat is very contagious. If your child is enrolled in school or daycare, you may want to contact their teacher. They can contact other parents and let them know to be on the lookout for signs of Strep.
Untreated Strep Throat can cause kidney problems and high fevers. It’s very important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Children frequently have ear infections or pain in their ears. It might be difficult to tell if your child has an ear infection (especially if they cannot talk yet) because there aren’t always physical symptoms. At times, a fever may be present with an ear infection.
If your baby is reaching for their ears, constantly crying, and having trouble sleeping, they may be experiencing ear pain. You will want to make an appointment with your pediatrician right away to determine if they have an actual infection.
If an infection is present, the doctor will prescribe amoxicillin. If there is no infection, you may just have to wait for the pain to subside, naturally. Children’s Motrin can help in the meantime.
3. Urinary Tract Infection
If you’re a mom reading this, you probably know that UTIs are common in adult women. However, they are also common in children!
You will know if your child has a UTI if they are having trouble going to the bathroom, crying when they have to pee, peeing frequently, or have blood in their pee. Another sign would be a potty-trained child suddenly wetting the bed at naptime or nighttime.
UTIs are caused by a buildup of bacteria in the urinary tract. This can happen if your child is sitting in a wet diaper for too long, wearing a wet bathing suit, or wearing clothes made of material that is not very breathable. They aren’t serious infections if treated quickly. Untreated UTIs can lead to kidney infections.
If you suspect your child has a UTI, make an appointment with your pediatrician. They will take a sample of urine and prescribe antibiotics, if necessary.
4. Skin infections
It is common for kids to get rashes, hives, and pimples on their skin. If you notice that your child’s skin looks red, bumpy, or swollen for more than 24-hours, you may want to take them to the doctor. The doctor will take a swab of their skin to determine if there is an infection present.
Bronchitis is a common infection in the lungs that does not require antibiotics. You can tell that your child has bronchitis if they are coughing frequently and the coughs sound “wet.” In most cases, the infection will clear up on its own. You should keep your child home from school or daycare until they stop coughing so they don’t spread germs to other children.
Bronchiolitis is a common illness in children during the cold and flu season (winter months). It is caused by a mild virus and signified by a wheezing sound when your child breathes. Bronchiolitis will typically go away on its own, but you should keep a close eye on your child to make sure they don’t have difficulty breathing.
If symptoms persist or occur frequently, you may want to ask your pediatrician to test your child for asthma.
7. Common cold
The common cold is caused by a virus in the upper respiratory tract. Colds are extremely common in young children, especially those in school or childcare. A cold typically results in a runny nose, cough, and congestion.
If your child has any symptoms of a cold, it’s recommended to keep them home from school or daycare until they feel better.
8. Bacterial sinusitis
Bacterial sinusitis occurs when bacteria us trapped in the sinuses. You may notice that your child has nasal discharge and a cough if they have bacterial sinusitis. If symptoms persist for 3-4 days or they start to run a fever, they may need antibiotics.
Conjunctivitis is the medical term for Pink Eye. You can tell your child has Pink Eye if their eye is red, itchy, swollen, and has discharge. Pink Eye is very contagious, so you should keep your child home from school or daycare and let teachers know they are ill.
Your pediatrician will likely want to treat the infection with an antibiotic ointment or eye drops.
10. Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease
Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease is very common among children aged 5 and younger. The disease is highly contagious, but usually not very serious. Symptoms include a rash on the hands, feet, and mouth, a fever, and flu-like symptoms.
If you notice these symptoms, keep your child home from school or daycare and alert their teachers. Monitor them closely and make sure they drink plenty of fluids, so they don’t get dehydrated. Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease typically does not require medication and will go away in about a week.
Health is a Priority at Meaningful Beginnings
Our childcare center emphasizes personal hygiene. We help keep children safe and healthy by teaching and enforcing proper handwashing techniques, sanitizing surfaces and toys, and will immediately alert parents when we see symptoms of illness. The health and safety of your child are paramount at Meaningful Beginnings.
Call today if you have any questions or would like to schedule a tour!