7 Childhood Illnesses You Should Know About

New parents get really worried whenever their child get sick, with time they learn enough about stomach upsets, ear infections, pinkeye and flu to manage them. While some childhood illnesses are just a nuisance, others can be quite severe.

Children get sick mainly due to bacterial and viral infections. This means that some of these conditions can be prevented especially if you and the child observe personal hygiene. One of this method involved practicing appropriate cough etiquette. Cough etiquette and washing hands after coughing pre-empts the risk of passing flu and cold virus to other people.

Childhood Illness

7 Common conditions that affect children include:


This condition is caused by a group of viruses known as human parainfluenza viruses; these are the bugs that cause common cold. The main symptom of croup is a cough that is similar to the barking sound made by seals. Croup can be quite severe and may medical attention. Though up to 6 percent of children with this condition are hospitalized, croup is rarely fatal.

Scarlet fever

Scarlet fever usually manifests as a rash that may begin with a strep throat. A toddler suffering from a strep throat will mostly have a high fever and a sore throat. Scarlet fever rash appears first on the chest and abdomen before spreading to the rest of the body. The rash is bright red and feels as rough as sandpaper.

The color of the rash is usually deeper around the armpits, while the toddler’s tongue has a whitish appearance except for the taste buds that looks bright red. In some instances the face may appear flushed with paler areas around the mouth. Though scarlet fever was once a dreaded condition, today it can be easily cured with antibiotics.

Hand, foot and mouth

Hand, foot and mouth disease should never be confused with foot and mouth disease that affects livestock. Hand, foot and mouth disease is a common childhood condition that causes blisters, fever and sores inside the mouth or the palms of the feet. In some instances the blisters may appear on the buttocks.

The main culprit behind hand, foot and mouth condition is a group of viruses known as enteroviruses. In the US, the disease is normally caused by a virus commonly referred to as coxsackievirus A 16. This virus tends to affect children during early fall or summer.

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Fifth disease

Fifth disease is also known as slapped cheek as it causes a red rash on the face that resembles a slap mark. A red rash may also appear on the limbs and child’s torso.5th disease does not always result in illness, however it can present as a cold early on before the rash shows up.

The term “fifth disease” was coined by a French physician who had assigned numbers to common childhood illnesses that presented with rashes. Measles was categorized as 1st disease while scarlet fever was 2nd disease.

Fifth disease is caused by a virus known as human parvovirus B 19.Up to 20 percent of all children are likely to be affected by this virus before they attain 5 years,60 percent will have contracted the condition by 19 years. Though it is a common condition, it is not severe and usually clears within 10 years. Many children infected with the virus do not show any symptoms and in most cases, 5th disease is considered a benign condition.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)

RSV is very a common childhood condition, actually the illness is more common that flu and usually causes more complications for toddlers compared to flu. Most children will have contracted RSV by the time they are 2 years old. The condition usually presents with a runny nose, fever and a cough.

In babies less than 1 year old, RSV results in brochiolitis, pneumonia and inflammation of the small air passages in the lungs. The first sign of RSV is usually a wheeze; ultimately about 25 to 40 percent of children suffering from this condition will experience wheezing.

RSV infections last up to 2 weeks and can be fatal to pre-term babies. Currently there is no vaccine against the condition; however administering palivizuram seems to prevent a serious RSV infection. RSV infections normally lasts about 2 weeks, however your child does not develop immunity to this infection even after recovering from it.


Impetigo is the 3rd most common skin condition in children and affects children aged 2-6 years. Some of the parents confuse this with baby eczema but it is different. The condition presents as clusters of itchy sores or bumps that leak fluids forming a crust over them. If your child touches fluids from these blisters, they will contract the condition. The good news is that the condition is easily treated with antibiotics.


The condition presents with itchy blisters or sores typically scattered all over the body including legs, face and arms. The illness is caused by varicella zoster virus and affects children within the first ten years of their life.

Children suffering from this condition experience flu-like symptoms such as fever before developing a rash. Chickenpox is highly infectious from a few days after the condition breaks out until the last sore has healed. This usually happens within a week after the first spots appear. Basically the condition is passed on through droplets from coughing or sneezing.

Children suffering from chickenpox should be excluded from attending school during the infectious period. Expectant women should also avoid contact with children or anyone who has this condition.

About the Author

I am an accredited counselor and life coach who is passionate about health and wellness. I love writing on kids and moms as well as parenting issues.