Children typically start getting sick after they’ve reached six months of age when the immunity received from their mother begins to weaken. At this point, your child starts to build up their own immune system, but this takes years.
As parents, it is important to be aware of the common health issues that tend to affect children and how to treat them. Let’s talk about some of the main medical problems children have to deal with, and where you can go in Tuckahoe, New York, for world-class medical care to help keep your child healthy.
What Can Affect a Child’s Health?
Ten of the most common illnesses and injuries that can affect children include the following:
The typical toddler/preschooler has an average of seven or eight colds per year. This number tends to decrease as children get older, with school-age children averaging around five to six colds each year.
Colds are caused by infections in the upper respiratory tract, usually viruses. They cause symptoms such as:
- Stuffy nose
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Headache and body aches
Symptoms of a cold are typically less severe than those caused by influenza (flu), and they usually clear up in a few days with rest, drinking plenty of fluids, and using over-the-counter medicines that are designed specially for children.
Flu (Influenza Virus)
If your child has a fever that suddenly spikes, or if their symptoms persist or get worse, visit your pediatrician within the next 24 hours, or take the child to an urgent care or an emergency room if the pediatrician cannot see the child quickly. Some respiratory symptoms may be a sign of the flu, sinusitis, bronchitis, or pneumonia, which require medical treatment.
Gastroenteritis (“Stomach Flu”)
Stomach bugs are typically caused by the norovirus. The main symptoms of gastroenteritis are vomiting and diarrhea, and these can quickly lead to dehydration – so it is important to ensure that your child is getting enough fluids. If your child is showing signs of dehydration and is feeling extremely weak, seek prompt treatment from your pediatrician.
Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is a very contagious childhood condition that is caused by a bacterial or viral infection. It results in inflammation of the tissue lining the eyelids.
Symptoms include redness, discharge, and crustiness around the eye. Antibiotic eye drops are typically used to treat the condition.
Ear pain in children can be caused by a number of different factors, including a buildup of earwax, an ear infection, or even teething. Cleaning the ears of earwax too regularly can also make the ear canal dry and itchy, and can make them more susceptible to ear problems.
Your child may show signs of an ear problem by pulling or rubbing at their ear, seeming fussier and more tearful than usual, or having trouble eating, sleeping, and drinking. Speak to your pediatrician for advice, as an ear infection may require antibiotics if the cause is bacterial.
Urinary Tract Infection
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is caused when bacteria build up in the urinary tract. Bacteria can be passed from the bowel to the opening of the urethra, such as during wiping when using the bathroom, and this can lead to an infection.
UTIs can cause pain and difficulty during urination, and the urine may smell bad, appear cloudy, or have blood in it. It can also cause bedwetting and more frequent urination, but your child may only pass small amounts of urine at a time. Your child’s pediatrician may prescribe antibiotics if your child has a UTI.
Asthma is reported to affect more than 6.2 million children in the United States. Asthma is a potentially serious lung disease that causes symptoms including:
- Chest tightness/pressure
- Shortness of breath
- Wheezing when exhaling
If your child has a persistent cough, shortness of breath, or coughs during exercise, you should visit your pediatrician for an evaluation. Inhaled corticosteroids and other control medication can help to manage the condition.
Sore Throat and Strep Throat
A sore throat is typically caused by a virus, and it will clear up without treatment within a week or so. However, severe sore throats may be caused by strep throat, which is caused by the contagious streptococcal bacterium that is spread primarily through coughs and sneezes of an infected child. A lab test or strep test is required to diagnose the condition by your pediatrician.
Mental Health and Behavioral Problems
Psychological and behavioral disorders can be challenging to spot in children, particularly very young children who may find it difficult to express their feelings effectively, and in adolescents who are entering puberty and dealing with a natural fluctuation in hormones. These factors can make it difficult to distinguish between a mental health disorder and normal changes associated with growing up.
Mental and behavioral health conditions that typically affect children and young adults include:
- Anxiety disorders
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Substance abuse
- Eating disorders
If you’re concerned about your child’s behavior or moods, have the child visit your pediatrician. The doctor will be able to offer helpful advice and guidance.
As much as we try to protect our children from harm, accidents can happen – and they are all a part of growing up and learning. Young children can be particularly vulnerable to injuries until their balance, awareness, and motor skills develop. Kids can also simply get hurt while playing on the playground or participating in sports.
Common types of childhood injuries include:
- Abrasions (scrapes)
- Burns to the skin
- Eye injuries
- Bone and joint injuries, such as a fracture or dislocation
- Choking, swallowing an object, or getting an object lodged in the nose or ear
- Sprains (a pull or tear of a ligament, which connects bone to bone)
- Strains (a pull or tear of a muscle or a tendon, which connects bone to muscle)
As children grow up, new areas of bone growth, known as growth plates, add length and width to existing bone. Growth plates are weaker than solid bone, which can make them more susceptible to injuries.
A majority of childhood injuries occur at home, where children spend most of their time. Ensuring your home environment is as child-safe as possible is crucial to preventing childhood injuries.
You should remove or firmly cover any sharp, hot, small, or dangerous objects from your child’s environment. Add safety measures such as stair gates, fencing around pools, power socket covers, and childproof locks to keep your child safe. Raise or eliminate hazards such as curtain/blinds pulls, which can cause a hanging hazard.
Comprehensive Pediatric Services in Tuckahoe, New York
If you are looking for high-quality and compassionate healthcare for your child, visit Village Pediatric Group. We serve patients from newborn to 21 years of age, and we provide a comprehensive range of pediatric healthcare services to meet all of your child’s needs.