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The 5 Most Common Childhood Illnesses

Updated on January 12, 2012

Along with a new bundle of joy, comes common childhood illnesses. Pediatric offices appear to be one of the many medical facilities that are filled to the brim, with anxious parents who are concerned about their child's health. From a runny nose to red bumps that appear out of nowhere, watching the clock in the doctor's office can become a nightmare. Listening to a child cry or hearing blood curdling screams while in the waiting room heightens the fear that something more severe could be wrong with your child.

Hoping to ease the pain of traveling to a doctor's office with a sick child, listed are the 5 most common illnesses among children. What to look for could your time at the pediatrics office a little less stressful.

Childhood illnesses can become a worrisome task. Hives appear out of nowhere, a large red bump appears on the arm or that sneeze does not appear to be just allergies. Due to our own upbringing we are familiar with some of the common illnesses such as a stomach, the flu, or even pinkeye. But there are many illnesses that we may have heard about and others that can be prevented. There are viral and bacterial infections that can be eliminated just by using an antibacterial soap or washing hands. When a child has a cold we should always teach them to cover their mouths and wash their hands. This lessens the chances of the infection to spread.

5. Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

Do not confuse this infection with hoof and mouth disease. One of the most common childhood diseases causes a high-grade fever with blisters or sores that cover the inside of the mouth, palms and soles of the feet. Blisters may also appear on the buttocks of your child.

Prone to rear its head in the Summer or Fall it is caused by a variety of viruses called enteroviruses also known in the United States as coxsackievirus A16.

Not really serious once treated the nasty little bug disappears in about 7-10 days.

4. Croup

If your child's cough sounds like he/she is "barking" this common cough is called croup. Many children are hospitalized every year when left untreated. It is caused by a group of viruses called human parainfluenza viruses, which also aides in the creation of the common cold. Rarely fatal the treatment provided assist the child with breathing normally until the cough ends. If your child is diagnosed with Croup it normally only hangs around for about a week.

3. Impetigo

Discussing the little red bumps previously that weep fluid is called Impetigo. Highly contagious and adults can get it to. It is normally found in children 2-6 years old.

It appears as a cluster of weeping red bumps that are itchy and forms a honey-colored crust over them. Touching the bumps can spread to other children and adults. If your child appears to have these little red bumps. Do not touch them and continually wash your hands. Get them to the doctor so they can prescribe an antibiotic. They will not cause scars and you will see them disappear after about a week. Give them the antibiotic as needed and do not discontinue the medicine. Follow-up with the doctor as discussed at your appointment.

2. Fifth Disease

Commonly known as the "slapped cheek" disease because it causes a red rash on the cheeks that looks like a slap mark. A red rash may also appear anywhere on the body or the arms and legs. There are rarely any symptoms but a possible oncoming cold. It will not always make your child feel ill before the rash appears.

Fifth disease is caused by the human parvovirus B19. By the age of 5 up to 20% of all children may contract Fifth Disease. By age 19 up to 60% of all children have had this disease. Not normally serious the disease can go away in 7-10 days. The infection can also cause joint pain and be misdiagnosed as Rheumatoid Arthirits. Joint pain normally disappears within 3 weeks.

1. RSV

RSV is the most common viruses of all childhood illnesses. Commonly known as Respiratory syncytial virus it wreaks havoc more often then influenza. Many of us have had (RSV) by the time we were 2-years old. Symptoms can include runny nose, cough and fever. It may appear as a common cold.

From newborn to 1 it is the most common cause of pneumonia and inflammation of the small air passages in the child's lungs. Wheezing can be one of the symptoms of RSV and it is sometimes treated with hospitalization. Wheezing will not occur in most children and approximately only 2% of all children are hospitalized.

RSV infections normally last 2 week if treated with an antibiotic. Anyone can contract the RSV virus. Eventually after catching RSV a few times, then it is treated as common cold.

There are many more common childhood illnesses. But with any illness it is best to contact your physician to get the proper diagnosis and have it treated accordingly. Always follow-up with the doctor after the first exam. If you have a newborn to 2-years old, do not ignore the signs when they are sick. Seek immediate medical attention if you believe your child/children has contracted any of these illnesses.


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    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      Brian Slater: We have sleep deprivation when we have children and people wonder why we have days that we are exhausted. lolo! :)

    • BRIAN SLATER profile image

      Brian Slater 6 years ago from England

      I remember those days well, sitting up all night, cuddling, comforting, soothing your baby back to health. It's every parents nightmare having your child ill. Great list of common illnesses but it doesn't make it any easier, as any parent will tell you. Voted up :)

    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      eolikes: Thank you for finding the 5 most common childhood illnesses to be useful. :0

    • eolikes profile image

      eolikes 6 years ago from Bangladesh

      useful and informative hub.

    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      sgbrown: We do worry about them and do not always know what is wrong. I am glad you found this information to be informative and thank you for the thumbs up! :)

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 6 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Very good information. You worry so when your babies, or grandbabies are sick and can't tell you what hurts. It is good to know the signs of common ailments. Thank you for sharing your information. Voted up, useful and sharing! Have a great day! :)

    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There


      You are welcome. There are the 5 most common childhood illnesses. The same ones that drive a parent insane when they do not know what is wrong with there child. Thanks for the appreciation. :)

    • Mala Srivastava profile image

      Mala Srivastava 6 years ago from India

      You have given very useful information in this article. This hub is useful for mothers like me.

    • iguidenetwork profile image

      iguidenetwork 6 years ago from Austin, TX

      Very useful!

    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      Shyron E Shenko: Thank you so much. There are many more illnesses, but these were in the top 10. Some have been around for an eternity and others are fairly new. :)

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 6 years ago from Texas

      Very informative! Thank you!

    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      mathira: Thank you. :)

      Dolores Monet: I agree with you Dolores. We have came a long way from then to now. My poor mother had to deal with Chicken Pox and Calamine lotion.

      algarview: With Fifth Disease it is possible. I am so glad it never came back. Kids are always drag things in, but of course we were kids once too! lolo! Thanks for stopping by.

    • algarveview profile image

      Joana e Bruno 6 years ago from Algarve, Portugal

      Hello, AEvans, very interesting and it is just as you describe, once they are born you find out a whole new universe filled with illnesses and medicines, which one never knew existed. Actually, now that you described it, I think at one point my daughter may have had the fifth disease, but the rash went away so fast I didn't even take her to the doctor and it never came back again. Is it possible? Good guide, great work.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

      It can be so scary to see a little one sick - but I remember, when I was young, we had measles, mumps, etc. My poor mother had to deal with little Dolores talking out of her head with high fever. Thank heavens parents don't have to deal with the illnesses of the past.

    • profile image

      mathira 6 years ago

      Very useful hub for parents and many would have benefited from your hub.

    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      Simone Smith: They are bad little illnesses and they are a little different from Adult ones. When you have children you will be fully prepared.

      Angela Blair: I believe a parent never rests. lolo! Staying up with raccoon eyes is a blessing. :)Yes they do go away. :)

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 6 years ago from Central Texas

      Great information for parents, AEvans. I remember the days of my son's childhood illnesses and the accompanying nights staying up with a sick and cranky child. The beauty part is they DO go away. Well written and interesting. Votred UP. Best, Sis

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Gosh, I haven't heard of ANY of these things! I fully expected to read about babies experiencing similar illness to adult sicknesses. Clearly that's not the case! Good to know O_O

    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      stephhicks68: RSV is one of the worse illnesses a little one could get. The doctors are bombarded with it every season. I am glad your nephew came through that storm, unfortunately there are children who honestly end up dying from RSV.

      Rolly A Chabot: Thanks so much and I will be working on you tonight. :)

      Denise Handlon: Thank you. If will also locate you and share the link.:)

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Nice job here AEvans. I did a similar one last year so I will link this one to yours. :)

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 6 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Thanks aevans... as always informative and diverse. Well written.

      Hugs from Canada

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Excellent guide for parents -especially new ones - to these common childhood illnesses. I have a nephew who became quite ill with RSV and was hospitalized several times in his first 2 years of life. Great idea for a hub - rated up! Steph