As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This is certainly true with many common childhood illnesses. Things as simple as handwashing and drinking fluids can go a long way toward prevention.
Here’s what you can do to minimize the impact of five common childhood issues: urinary tract infections, earaches, sore throats, skin infections and the common cold. Of course, always consult your JMH pediatrician for recommendations specific to your child’s health situation.
Issue No. 1: Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract and bladder infections can affect children of all ages and are a common cause of bedwetting. They happen when bacteria build up in the urinary tract. Symptoms include pain during urination, a frequent and urgent need to urinate, abdominal and back pain and sudden incontinence in a toilet-trained child.
Prevention: Teach children to empty their bladder fully, each time they urinate, and to practice sanitary bathroom habits. Make sure they drink enough fluids.
Issue No. 2: Earaches
Ear pain develops for many reasons: pressure from a cold or sinus infection, tooth pain, viral ear infection, swimmer’s ear or even a foreign object lodged in the ear canal. The primary symptom is pain in the internal and external ear. If this is accompanied by a high fever or other signs of illness, your pediatrician definitely needs to make an evaluation.
Prevention: Many earaches are viral, so the best prevention is good hand washing. Additional prevention includes:
- Avoiding cigarette smoke
- Receiving immunizations
- Limiting large group exposure to germs
- Breastfeeding and avoiding pacifier use for infants
Issue No. 3: Sore Throats
As painful as they can be, sore throats are usually not a sign of serious illness. They are often part of a viral illness that goes away on its own within 7 to 10 days. Some sore throats are strep throat, which is bacterial. This should be determined by a doctor. The hallmark of strep throat is tight throat pain that persists for days without letting up.
Prevention: The best prevention for sore throats is good hand washing and receiving immunizations. If a child has strep throat, limit their contact with other people.
Issue No. 4: Skin Infections
Kids get all kinds of skin issues and infections. If your child develops a skin issue like a boil, abscess, or scaly patch, have it evaluated by a doctor. It could be something as simple as poison ivy, or something much more serious like a staph infection.
Prevention: Handwashing is the best prevention for skin infections. Hand sanitizer can help when washing isn’t possible. It’s also important to teach children not to touch others’ open sores and wounds. During school and sports, children should tell a teacher if they see a child with a bloody or open sore.
Issue No. 5: The Common Cold
It might be common, but it’s still frustrating! Colds can make children feel run down, sniffly, sneezy, stuffy, headachey, and cranky. It’s not unusual for children to get 10 colds a year until adolescence when it usually tapers off to about three a year. The common cold is a virus that invades the respiratory tract. Also common: secondary infections that require antibiotics. See a pediatrician.
Prevention: Handwashing helps. Things like TV remotes and video game controllers hold germs, so teach your children to wash their hands after using them. Encourage them to cover their mouths while sneezing and coughing too.
If you have additional questions about childhood health issues, don’t hesitate to reach out to Johnson Memorial Health Pediatrics.