Common Childhood Diseases:

Amongst the most common diseases of the infants and children are the infectious diseases.
Following the introduction of effective vaccines incidence of many infections( e.g. polio, measles,
german measles, diphtheria, etc.) have been reduced but other infectious diseases like upper respiratory viral infections, hepatitis, shingellosis, etc. are still widely prevalent.

A. Upper Airway Infections

Infection of the middle ear ( Otitis Media)

Infection of sinuses ( Sinusitis)

B. Infection of oral cavity:

Canker Sore            Thrush

Sore throat           Croup

Infection of middle ear ( Otitis Media )

Symptoms:    Newborns and infants may not present with specific symptoms; often just being more irritable, crying while beating or pulling at the ear ( due to earache).
Older children may complain of pain in one or both of the ears, hearing loss and discharge from ears.
Child may have fever, cough, cold, vomiting and diarrhea.

Cause:       Usually caused by bacteria and rarely by virus.

Duration:    If it persists for more than one month it is considered as chronic.

Treatment:    Treatment usually consists of appropriate antibiotics and supportive treatment in the form of decongestants. Patients who do not respond favourably may need  minor ear surgery.

Infection of the sinuses ( Nose congestion/ runny nose/ Sinusitis ).

Symptoms:    Children 5 years and above usually complain of fever, headache and facial pain.
Younger children usually have fever, nasal purulent discharge and daytime cough for more than 10 days. Children may also have bad breadth, tenderness and swelling around eyes.

Cause:    Sinusitis occurs due to infection of the paranasal sinuses. It is mostly due to bacterial infections. Predisposing factors of sinusitis are viral upper respiratory infection, allergy, asthma, rapid change in altitude  and swimming.

Occurrence:    It may be acute or chronic. Infection of ethmoidal sinus is the most common in children. Frontal sinusitis is rare before 10 years of age.

Treatment:    Treatment is mainly with antibiotics, nasal decongestants and antihistamine in
patients who have allergy. Steam inhalation also helps.

Canker Sore
               These are circular shallow ulcers which may occur anywhere in mouth. Exact cause is not known.

              These are grayish white patches inside mouth. It occurs commonly in new born
babies. It is treated with oral anti fungal medicine.

Sore throat ( Pharyngitis)

Symptoms:    Child will complain of  sore throat and  may have more than 101 F, enlarged tonsils and tender lymph node in throat.

Cause         Often caused due to viruses and is part of common cold. It can also occur due to bacterial infection ( Streptococcus). It should be differentiated and treated so as to avoid complications of bacterial sore throat.

Treatment     Treatment for bacterial phanyngitis is with penicillin. Supportive therapy includes warm saline gargles and throat lozenges.

Croup     It is a term used to describe infection of larynx, trachea and bronchi.

Symptoms    Child has brassy cough with hoarseness, and sometimes signs of difficulty in breathing.

Treatment    A doctor should be consulted and appropriate therapy instituted after examination. Supportive therapy includes humidification, voice rest and steam inhalation.