As a parent, seeing your child sick can be a significant source of worry. It can be a very nerve-racking and depressing experience, especially if it occurs repeatedly. The fact is that researchers have shown that an average toddler (1-3 years) gets cold/flu about eight times a year. Preteens (10 to 13 years) have about six cold/flu annually while teenagers may get up to three cold/flu yearly.
Most children have their first flu at six months of age because the immunity they obtain from their mother wanes, and it becomes inevitable that they develop their immune system. So ‘healthy cold’ is necessary because it is a way of improving their immune system and becoming immune to infections. As children transcend from infancy to toddler, their immature immune system will be overwhelmed by ‘novel’ diseases.
Four most common childhood illnesses
Often referred to as ‘common cold’, cold can infect your child’s throat and nose. It frequently occurs during the winter period because the body’s immune system is often weakened by the cold weather. If your child gets sick every winter, then the explanation is that your child’s immune system is not yet strong enough to resist cold viruses ( numbered up to more than two hundred). Your child can get up to ten bouts of cold yearly.
The good news is that as children grow older, the number of colds they get reduces. So, ensure your child gets quality sleep time. Eating nutritious meals with vegetables and fruits will help. Vitamin C reduces the risk of severe cold symptoms.
It will also be beneficial to the health of your child if you reduce, or quit smoking in the house altogether. Secondhand smoke is often the cause of childhood respiratory illnesses and weak immune system.
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Pneumonia affects the lungs, most specifically, the air sac. Medical reports have shown that more than ten percent of kids have the illness yearly. It does not pose a serious health issue if a child has pneumonia, not more than once every year. Chronic pneumonia in a child is dangerous and could either be a sign of immune deficiency or asthma.
Bacteria pneumonia appears to be the most common cause of pneumonia in children. Pneumonia can also be caused by fungi and viruses. Secondhand smoke can cause pneumonia in children.
The right way of protecting your child from pneumonia is through vaccination. Discuss with your healthcare provider the most effective pneumonia vaccine to get for your child. A yearly flu shot is recommended, as well. Good hygiene is one of the keys to preventing pneumonia. Teach your child frequent washing of hands and elbow sneezing or coughing.
Strep throat is a prevalent childhood illness. It is known to cause pains and itchiness in the throat. Sometimes, patches can appear on the back of the throats. Strep throat is highly infectious. So, your child can contract it from school. Some ways strep throat can spread include sneezing, shaking of hands and coughing.
Strep throat can be cured with an antibiotic. But first, a test needs to be done to diagnose the infection, through a throat culture or rapid antigen tests. Recurring strep throats will need a tonsillectomy. Early treatment of strep throat can prevent serious complications, including rheumatic fever.
On average, a child is likely to vomit from time to time. Babies frequently vomit because of their immature gastrointestinal system, hence the wet burbs. Gastroenteritis is the primary cause of vomiting in children. The illness also leads to diarrhoea. Your child will feel better in a few days, though frequent vomiting can cause dehydration and a sign of a severe underlying disease like meningitis.
Monitor your child when he/she vomits. If you feel worried, then seek medical emergency, especially if your child is dehydrated, vomits blood, or has a long spell of vomiting lasting more than twenty-four hours.
How to limit recurring illnesses in your child
Here’s how to combat frequent illness:
- Regular handwashing is a way of preventing many diseases. Germs can easily be gotten from dirty hands. Teaching your child how to wash and scrub their hands before eating and after playing will dramatically reduce the times he/she falls sick.
- In addition to increasing your child’s risk of having obesity and diabetes, sleep deprivation can weaken his/her immune system. Ensure your child gets adequate sleep.
- Germs use nose, eyes and mouth as an entry route into the body. Make sure your child does not touch those areas. Also, instruct your child to avoid sharing toothbrushes or cups.
- Nutritious diets are essential. Your child’s meal should contain all the vital nutrients in their right proportion. Vitamins are immune system boosters.
- Ensure your child gets vaccinated as and when necessary.