Common Illnesses Among Little Kids
Archie Modequillo (The Freeman) - June 24, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Perhaps the biggest horror of parents is when their little ones get sick. As most little kids cannot fully communicate their discomfort or suffering, parents tend to imagine the worst. In effect, the parents and their sick little kids go through it together, every single time.

While the parents’ being there when their kids are sick is a most endearing parental gesture, for sure any parent would prefer to be in better control of the situation. No one would want to be in such quandary over and over again, unsure whether his or her presence around a sick child works to alleviate the child’s pain at all.

The attending parents’ care and attention must be reassuring to the sick child, at least. But then again, there’s no way to tell whether seeing Mom and Dad worried lessens the child’s suffering in any way. A better way perhaps is for parents to learn something from every health problem of their kids, so that they may deal with it better the next time… and the next.

It also helps to have the doctor’s and the hospital’s phone numbers ready, in case the problem really gets out of hand resulting in an emergency. Still, in the time before the arrival of the doctor or the ambulance, it’s good for parents to have an idea of how to handle the situation. Panicking won’t help.

In many cases, a child’s illness does not get too serious if handled well by parents at home. The website www.schooldays.ie list ten common kids’ illnesses, with tips on how to avoid them:

Heat Rash. It is characterized as a red or pink rash, usually on the head, neck and shoulders. It occurs when the sweat ducts become blocked and swell, resulting in itching and discomfort. Heat rash is usually caused by wearing heavy clothes in the heat. So parents shall dress their kids in light clothing in order to reduce the risk of heat rash. Heat rash usually goes away after a day or two and does not require medical attention.

Swimmer’s Ear. It is an infection of the outer ear canal which occurs when water remains trapped in the ear. This creates a moist environment, which aids bacterial growth. As the name suggests, kids are most likely to contract swimmer’s ear after time spent in the pool or sea. Swimmer’s ear may result in the ear feeling full and itchy and can be extremely painful. Some children (or even adults) may also experience temporary hearing loss. Swimmer’s ear is easily treated with over the counter antiseptic ear drops and may be avoided by wearing ear plugs while in the water.

Sunstroke. Given the sweltering sunlight these days, sunstroke occurs when too much time has been spent in the sun resulting in an extremely high body temperature. Sunstroke may cause rapid pulse, disorientation, nausea, a dry swollen tongue and red, hot skin. In extreme cases, sunstroke may cause the child to become unconscious. Sunstroke can be extremely serious and in these cases a trip to the emergency room is essential. In order to avoid sunstroke, parents shall keep their kids in the shade during the hottest part of the day and make sure to keep the little ones hydrated by having them drink lots of fluids.

Eczema. It is a common, recurring skin disease which causes an irritating rash on the body. Eczema is often caused by allergies and may actually worsen during hot weather. The chlorine in pool water and sun exposure can cause the skin to dry out, triggering irritation. Increased sweat may also worsen eczema. If a child suffers from eczema, parents may try to wipe down the child’s skin when in the heat so as to reduce the build-up of sweat. Parents shall also make sure to use hypoallergenic sunscreen and a good moisturizer on the child’s skin every day. Also, the child shall be dressed in cool clothes so as the skin can breathe, reducing irritation.

Insect Stings. Insect stings, especially bee stings, are most likely to occur during hot weather and can be traumatic for young kids. The kids shall be taught to be calm around bees and they will be less likely to be stung. Swatting and flailing limbs will only increase the chances of a bee stinging your child.

Eye Damage. Eye Damage, while not an illness is an extremely important risk to be avoided, but is often overlooked. Young eyes are particularly vulnerable to the harmful UVA and UVB rays from the sun as the lenses of a child’s eye are more transparent than that of an adult. Kids shall be made to wear sunglasses when exposed to the sun or wear a wide-brimmed hat for extra protection to the kids’ eyes. Also, there’s greater risk of sore eyes, which calls for the kids to at least keep their distance from people who have sore eyes and to refrain from touching their eyes, in order to lessen the possibility of infection.

Food Poisoning. It is a food borne illness which reaches its peak during not weather. Heat aids bacterial growth and increases the risk of food poisoning. Food poisoning occurs when one eats food containing certain types of bacteria and viruses. Microorganisms then continue to grow in the digestive tract, causing an infection. Symptoms typically include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, with a fever in some cases. Kids can be protected against food poisoning by ensuring that meats are cooked thoroughly and keeping up good hygiene in the kitchen.

Hay Fever. It is a common condition, showing signs and symptoms similar to a cold, with symptoms usually worsening in hot weather. It can be light in some, but can also be quite a powerful hindrance for some other children.

It is advisable for parents to be familiar with other common kids’ diseases and how these are traditionally handled. Now that the kids are back at school and are intermingling with other kids, there is naturally a higher risk for them to pick up an illness. Parents need to watch out for this possibility.

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