Respiratory illnesses and diseases are highly common in human beings. During a child’s early years, respiratory diseases like the common cold are never far away.
The respiratory system — comprised of the nose, throat, and lungs — works hard to let in all the oxygen we need while clearing out the carbon dioxide we don’t need. However, our noses and mouths are easy entry points for germs, viruses, and bacteria. Because a child’s immune system hasn’t fully developed, these invaders can cause some of the following common childhood respiratory illnesses and diseases.
The flu is one of the most common respiratory diseases in the world. It can be particularly dangerous for younger children who haven’t built up immunity yet. That is why the CDC highly recommends that kids are vaccinated every year from six months onwards.
Symptoms of the flu include high fever, cough, muscle aches, and a runny nose. Children might also lose their appetite and have other symptoms such as nausea and diarrhea.
This is a highly contagious illness, so if your child starts displaying any symptoms, they should be kept at home. Make sure they get lots of rest and stay hydrated. Contact your doctor if you are worried about their symptoms, as the flu can cause serious complications, especially in younger kids.
Kids love sharing, and the common cold can quickly spread around kindergartens and schools. That is why it is essential to keep your child at home if they have the sniffles or a persistent cough. Kids can get colds up to eight times per year.
Symptoms of a common cold include a runny nose, sore throat, coughing, sneezing, and body aches. They are usually straightforward to treat at home, with a combination of rest and drinking lots of fluids. Pharmacies stock many over-the-counter treatments, but they are not recommended for kids under the age of two.
Asthma affects an estimated 6.2 million kids in the United States. Symptoms include coughing, wheezing, chest tightening, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. Asthma is typically caused due to an adverse reaction to dust, pollen, and allergens such as pet dander. Having parents with asthma, exposure to cigarette smoke, and air pollution also increases the risk of developing asthma.
The severity of symptoms can vary from child to child, so you must follow your doctor’s guidance to manage asthma and attend regular wellness appointments. If you notice that your child is wheezing or complaining of chest tightness, it is crucial to have them checked out as soon as possible.
A sore throat is a common symptom of the common cold, but if you notice that your child has red or swollen tonsils, then they may have strep throat. Other things to look out for include fever and painful or swollen neck glands. Kids with strep throat often lose their appetite and struggle to eat solid foods.
Strep throat is caused by bacteria and is highly contagious. Your child will need to take a course of antibiotics to clear up the infection. Strep throat must be treated as quickly as possible to avoid more severe complications.
If any of the conditions above are not adequately treated, they could lead to this severe condition. Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs, which can be caused by bacteria or a virus. Symptoms include rapid breathing, high fever, coughing, and pain in the chest, and they usually develop quickly. If you think your child is showing signs of pneumonia, you should seek urgent medical assistance. You can help support your child’s immune system by following the CDC’s immunization protocols to protect your child from common culprits such as pneumococcus, measles, and whooping cough.