Here are a few ailments seen in children:
Common Cold, Sore Throat
All infants and children every now and then suffer from common cold and sore throat. Even healthy children can catch a cold about five or six times annually, and will be more prone to it if they go to a nursery or have older siblings. Most of these infections occur because of viral attacks, which are of short duration and children normally recover from it soon. It is only when the infection is accompanied by high fever or rashes on the skin that you need to be concerned. Some of the common symptoms of cold or sore throat are runny nose, fever, feeling of tiredness, and ear ache.
Colds and sore throat are usually cured with supportive treatments like:
- A painkilling syrup like paracetamol, which not only relieves pain but brings down the fever
- Simple decongestants made of liquid drops to relieve a blocked nose
- Feeding plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration in the child
Ear ache in children
Another very common problem among children is ear ache, which may be the result of either teething or an infection. Most earaches cure by themselves, but painkilling syrup can be of help. For ear aches caused by bacterial infection, it may be necessary to administer antibiotics.
Persistent ear ache can damage hearing, making it vital for the child to be examined by a doctor. Ear infections normally start in the throat and make their way via the eustachian tube to the middle ear. It is a condition called otitis media, and is the most common ear infection among children. When this condition is acute, the middle ear gets filled with secretions that a result of the infection. The eardrum becomes red and swollen, and then ruptures as a defensive mechanism to let the infection drain out. The earache usually heals after the eardrum has burst and the perforation soon heals.
Otitis media can also be caused by a gluey discharge, but children with this infection often experience no pain. The ear fills up with this thick, sticky discharge, often caused by repeated viral infections. When this fluid fails to drain through the eustachian tube, it may lead to temporary deafness, and if this happens frequently it can impair a child’s speech.
Mostly such an ear infection in children heals by itself, but if it doesn’t, a minor operation to drain the glue may be required.
An inflammation of the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs is a condition that is known as pneumonia, which is caused by a viral or bacterial infection, and is more commonly seen in children than in adults. The alveoli gets inflamed and filled with white blood cells, because of which it becomes difficult for oxygen to get into the blood vessels for circulation.
Symptoms of pneumonia
This is a serious infection in children, and is usually marked by the following symptoms:
- Sufferer feels severely ill
- Flushed looks accompanied with high fever
- A persistent cough
- Rapid breathing, sometimes so strong that the space between the ribs is sucked in
Young children are more prone to pneumonia because their immune system is not fully developed. Children are also likely to face severe complications of the infection. Children suffering from it need immediate medical attention, and may even require hospital admission to treat the infection. However, once treatment with oxygen, intravenous antibiotics and fluids is initiated, the condition usually improve rapidly.