Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Chickenpox, Colds and Flus...Oh My!

When your child is sick, it may be difficult for him or her to describe symptoms or describe the level of pain he or she is experiencing. This can make it hard to even know what condition your child has. However, there are five illnesses parents should know the signs and symptoms of by heart.

The early signs of chickenpox are frequently small blisters or a rash that can closely resemble a series of bug bites. You’ll know the difference, however, when these symptoms are accompanied by a fever, irritability, headache or loss of appetite. While there’s no miracle fix for chickenpox, a physician can offer medications to reduce the disease’s severity.

Common Cold
If your child tells you his or her throat has a tickle or you observe sniffling and sneezing, these symptoms could be the beginnings of a common cold. It’s perfectly natural to wonder whether these symptoms are the signs of the flu (see number 4 for more information) or simply a cold. Two fairly simple ways to tell include if a child is running a fever or if your child’s illness extends beyond a week, both of which are symptoms more associated with the flu.

Having an itchy, red or irritated eye are all signs of the highly contagious pinkeye condition. Also known as conjunctivitis, this condition may not always cause your child pain, but itching and swelling can occur. If your child experiences pinkeye, emphasize frequent hand washing. In most cases, pinkeye will go away after a week or less without prescription medication.

While many associate flu with the winter months, your child can get the flu year-round. For this reason, it’s important to closely observe your child for symptoms resembling the common cold, yet slightly more intense. These include chills, headache, muscles aches, cough, sore throat and stomach or ear pain.

Ear Infection
Children, especially those between the ages of 2 and 4, are more prone to experience an ear infection due to the structure of their eustachian tubes, which have not yet fully developed. These tubes connect the middle ear to the throat and can harbor bacteria and viruses, which result in an ear infection. If your child seems to be frequently tugging his or her ear, says you are talking too loudly or complains of having trouble going to sleep or lying down, he or she could be suffering from an ear infection.

Sources,, Peyton Manning Children's Hospital