Common Illnesses And Conditions
A Guide to Children's Dental Health
The road to a bright smile begins long before the first tooth appears. Parents play a big part in helping their children develop healthy teeth. Early monitoring by your child's doctor and dentist is important. (See "What is a pediatric dentist?")
Acne—How to Treat and Control It
Almost all teens get zits at one time or another. It's called acne. Whether your case is mild or severe, there are things you can do to keep it under control. Read on to find out how.
Acute Ear Infections and Your Child
Next to the common cold, an ear infection is the most common childhood illness. In fact, most children have at least one ear infection by the time they are 3 years old. Many ear infections clear up without causing any lasting problems.
Allergies in Children
Allergy describes a condition involving the immune system that causes sneezing and itching, chronic rashes, wheezing, or even life-threatening allergic reactions. Whether minor or serious, there are things you can do to prevent or control most allergic problems. The more you know about allergies—the symptoms, causes, and treatments—the more prepared you will be to help your child. Read on to find out more.
For anyone experiencing anaphylaxis, epinephrine should be given right away followed by a call to 911 for further treatment and transfer to a hospital. The main medicine to treat anaphylaxis is epinephrine. This is a medicine given by an injection. The best place to inject it is in the muscles of the outer part of the thigh. If the symptoms do not improve very quickly, the injection should be given again in 5 to 30 minutes.
Anemia and Your Young Child: Guidelines for Parents: Adapted from Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5
Anemia is a condition that is sometimes found in young children. It can make your child feel cranky, tired, and weak. Though these symptoms may worry you, most cases of anemia are easily treated. This brochure explains the different types of anemia and its causes, symptoms, and treatments.
Ankle Sprain Treatment (Care of the Young Athlete)
Acute ankle and foot injuries are common in
athletes and other active young people. Sprains account for the greatest number
of acute injuries.
Antibiotics Aren't Always Needed
Parents need to know that using
antibiotics when they are not the right medicine will not help and may even
cause harm to children.
Asthma (AZZ-muh) is a disease of the breathing tubes that carry air to the lungs. The linings of the tubes swell, and they fill up with mucus (MYOO-kus). This is called inflammation (in-fluh-MAY-shun). It makes the tubes get narrow. This makes it hard to breathe.
Asthma and Exercise (Care of the Young Athlete)
Almost every child (and adult) with asthma can
benefit from sports and physical activity. Also, asthma should not prevent young
athletes from enjoying a full athletic career. The following is information from
the American Academy of Pediatrics about asthma and exercise.
Asthma and Your Child
This publication was written by the
American Academy of Pediatrics to inform parents about asthma. It includes
information about asthma symptoms, triggers, treatments, medicines, and how to
communicate with your child's school.
Things that cause asthma (AZZ-muh) attacks or make asthma worse are called triggers. Asthma triggers can be found in your home, your child's school, child care, and other people's homes.
Most children learn to use the toilet between 2 and 4 years of age. Even after children are toilet-trained, they may wet the bed until they are older. It's even common for 6-year-olds to wet the bed once in a while. Some children still wet the bed at age 12.
Bedwetting: What Parents Need to Know
Did you know that there are about 5 million children in the United States who wet the bed? If your child wets the bed, he or she is not alone.
Bronchiolitis and Your Young Child
Bronchiolitis is a common respiratory illness among infants. One of its symptoms is trouble breathing, which can be scary for parents and young children. Read on for more information from the American Academy of Pediatrics about bronchiolitis, causes, signs and symptoms, how to treat it, and how to prevent it.
Chickenpox Vaccine, The
(Please see the related Vaccine Information Statement, The Chickenpox Vaccine: What You Need to Know)
Most children get 8 to 10 colds before they are 2 years old. Most colds come and go without any big problems.
Common Childhood Infections
Most infections are caused by germs called viruses and bacteria. While you may be able to keep germs from spreading, you can't always keep your child from getting sick. It is important for parents to know how to keep their children healthy and what to do when they get sick. Read on to learn more from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) about common childhood infections—signs and symptoms, treatments, and when to call your child's doctor.
Constipation (kahn-sti-PAY-shun) is common. Children with constipation have stools (poops) that are hard, dry, and difficult or painful to get out. Constipation can be treated.
Constipation and Your Child
Bowel patterns vary from child to child just as they do in adults. What's normal for your child may be different from what's normal for another child. Most children have bowel movements 1 or 2 times a day. Other children may go 2 to 3 days or longer before passing a normal stool.
Croup is an infection that makes the inside of your child's throat swell up. This makes it hard for your child to breathe. It can be scary for both parents and children.
Croup and Your Young Child
Croup is a common illness in young children. It can be scary for parents as well as children. Read on for more information from the American Academy of Pediatrics about croup, including types, causes, symptoms, and treatments.
Croup: When Your Child Needs Hospital Care
Croup is a common illness that affects the airways, making it hard for a child to breathe. It's most common in toddlers but can affect children between 6 months and 12 years of age. Another symptom is a loud barking cough that is worse at night. Trouble breathing and the barking cough can be scary for parent and child. Most children with viral croup also have low fever.
Crying and Your Baby: How to Calm a Fussy or Colicky Baby
Babies cry for different reasons. Crying is one way babies try to tell us what they need. They may be hungry, have a soiled diaper, or just want a little attention. (See checklist at the bottom.) If a crying baby cannot be comforted, the cause may be colic. Read on about colic and ways to calm a crying baby.
Diaper Rash and Your baby
Most babies get diaper rash, but it is usually not serious. Read on to find out more about what causes diaper rash and how to treat it.
Diarrhea and Your Child
Diarrhea is the passage of watery stools.
Diarrhea, Vomiting, and Water Loss (Dehydration)
Diarrhea (loose poop) and
vomiting, or “throwing up,” are why many parents call the doctor.
Your child's doctor may call this gastroenteritis (GAS-
troh-en-tur-EYE-tis). These symptoms are often caused by a virus*.
Ear infections (in-FEK-shuns) in children are common. Most kids get at least one ear infection by the time they are 3 years old. Most ear infections clear up without any lasting problems. Your child's doctor may also call an ear infection otitis (oh-TYE-tis) media.
Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis) and Your Child
Eczema is a chronic skin problem that
causes dry, red, itchy skin. It is also called atopic
dermatitis or AD. Anyone can get eczema, but it is
most common in babies to young adults.
In some children, fevers can trigger seizures. Febrile seizures occur in 2% to 5% of all children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years. Seizures, sometimes called “fits” or “spells,” are frightening, but they usually are harmless. Read on for information from the American Academy of Pediatrics that will help you understand febrile seizures and what happens if your child has one.
Fever is a sign that your child is fighting an infection. It is usually harmless. Your child's fever should go away in about 3 days. If it doesn’t, call your child's doctor.
Fever and Your Child
A fever is usually a sign that the body is fighting an illness or infection. Fevers are generally harmless. In fact, they can be considered a good sign that your child's immune system is working and the body is trying to heal itself. While it is important to look for the cause of a fever, the main purpose for treating it is to help your child feel better if he is uncomfortable or has pain.
The flu (influenza) is an illness caused by a virus. It affects the whole body. This is not the same as what we often call the “stomach flu.”
Fun in the Sun: Keep Your Family Safe
Warm, sunny days are wonderful. It's great to exercise outside, and the sun feels good on your skin. But what feels good can harm you and your family. Read on for information from the American Academy of Pediatrics about how to keep your family safe from the sun’s harmful rays.
Gastroenteritis: When Your Child Needs Hospital Care
Gastroenteritis is a common childhood illness that causes diarrhea and vomiting that can lead to dehydration. It is usually caused by a virus but can also be caused by bacteria or a parasite. Most of the time mild diarrhea and vomiting last for just a few days. However, if symptoms don't go away or they get worse, your child may need to be treated in the hospital.
Giving Medicine to Children: Important Safety Information
Giving medicine in the right way can help your child feel better and get well. However, medicine information and labels can be confusing. Read on for information from the American Academy of Pediatrics about prescription and over-the-counter medicines, how to give medicine in the right way, and how to prevent medicine mistakes.
Haemophilus influenzae Type b
(Please see the related Vaccine Information Statement, Haemophilus Influenzae Type b (Hib) Vaccine: What You Need to Know)
Hepatitis B Vaccine: What Parents Need to Know
Hepatitis B is a viral infection of
the liver. It is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Lifelong HBV infection
can lead to liver cancer or scarring of the liver (cirrhosis). More than 1
million people in the United States are living with lifelong HBV infection.
Anyone can get infected with HBV, including your child.
About 4 million Americans are infected with Hepatitis C virus (HCV), and many do not even know it. Anyone can get infected with HCV, including children.
How to Prevent Tooth Decay in Your Baby
Baby teeth are important. If baby teeth are lost too early, the teeth that are left may move and not leave any room for adult teeth to come in. Also, if tooth decay is not prevented, it can be costly to treat, cause pain, and lead to life-threatening infections.
How to Take Your Child's Temperature
Your temperature (TEM-pruh-chur) is how warm or cold your body is. Normal temperature for a child is 98°F to 99°F or 37°C. The small circle (°) means “degrees.” Anything over 100.4°F or 38°C is a fever. (See “Words to Know” for “F” and “C.”)
Imaging Tests: A Look Inside Your Child's Body
If your pediatrician isn't sure what the cause of your child's illness or injury is, imaging tests may be needed. Imaging tests are used to “look” inside the body. They can help diagnose injuries and illnesses from broken bones to cancer. Some tests can even find problems before symptoms appear. Read this handout to learn more about imaging tests.
Immunizations: What You Need To Know
Immunizations have helped children stay healthy for more than 50 years. They are safe and they work. In fact, serious side effects are no more common than those from other types of medication. Vaccinations have reduced the number of infections from vaccine-preventable diseases by more than 90%! Yet many parents still question their safety because of misinformation they've received. That's why it's important to turn to a reliable and trusted source, including your child's doctor, for information. The following are answers to common questions parents have about immunizations.
Important Information for Teens Who Get Headaches
A lot of teens do. In fact, 50% to 75% of all teens report having at least one headache per month!
Inhaled and Intranasal Corticosteroids and Your Child
If your child has asthma or allergic rhinitis (hay fever), your pediatrician may prescribe a corticosteroid, also commonly referred to as a steroid. These medicines are the best available to decrease the swelling and irritation (inflammation) that occurs with persistent asthma or allergy. They are not the same as the anabolic steroids that are used illegally by some athletes to build muscles.
Know the Facts About HIV and AIDS
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). While there is no cure for HIV, early diagnosis and treatment are very effective at keeping people healthy. In addition, there are things you can do to prevent getting HIV. Read on to learn more about HIV and AIDS and how to keep you and your children healthy.
Lactose Intolerance and Your Child
After drinking milk or eating ice cream, does your child have stomach cramps or get diarrhea? If so, your child may have lactose intolerance.
Lyme disease is an important public health problem in some areas of the United States. Since its discovery in Lyme, CT, in 1975, thousands of cases of the disease have been reported across the United States and around the world. By knowing more about the disease and how to prevent it, you can help keep your family safe from the effects of Lyme disease.
Managing Chronic Health Needs in Child Care and Schools—Allergic Skin Conditions
Estimates are that up to 20% of infants and young children may be affected by eczema at some point. There is no good data about how frequently hives and contact dermatitis occur.
Managing Chronic Health Needs in Child Care and Schools—Allergies: An Overview
Allergies are very common. In a national study of children with special health care needs, 53% had allergies of some type.
Managing Chronic Health Needs in Child Care and Schools—Anaphylaxis
The key adaptation to avoiding anaphylaxis is to try to avoid the allergen. This may mean
Managing Chronic Health Needs in Child Care and Schools—Asthma
Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases in children, affecting between 5% and 10%.
Managing Chronic Health Needs in Child Care and Schools—Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Babies with GERD can choke; a bulb syringe should be available to help clear the airway if necessary. If the baby is coughing, nothing should be done because the cough is the most effective way to clear the airway. If the baby stops breathing or making any sound, CPR techniques for infants should be used. These maneuvers are covered in pediatric first aid with CPR courses such as the American Academy of Pediatrics course, Pediatric First Aid for Caregivers and Teachers.
Managing Infectious Diseases—Diarrhea
An illness in which someone develops more watery and frequent stools than is typical for that person. Diarrhea can be caused by changes in diet, such as drinking excessive amount of fruit juice, eating more than the usual amounts of certain foods, and the use of some medications. Diarrhea also can be the result of a problem with the intestines, such as inability to absorb nutrients or allergy to foods. Infections with some viruses, bacteria, and parasites can cause diarrhea.
Managing Infectious Diseases—Ear Infection
There are 2 common types of ear infections: otitis media (middle ear infection) and otitis externa (swimmer’s ear). Most ear infections of young children occur in the middle ear.
Medicine and the Media: How to Make Sense of the Messages
Your child is sick or hurt and the first thought on your mind is, “How can I make my child better?” That's natural. No parent wants his or her child to suffer. So how do you decide what medicines to give or treatments to try?
Meningococcal Disease: Information for Teens and College Students
Certain teens and young adults have a higher risk of getting meningococcal disease. College students, especially freshmen who live in dorms and military recruits, are at an increased risk compared with others in this age group. It's important to know how to protect yourself because meningococcal disease can be deadly. Read on for more information from the American Academy of Pediatrics about this serious illness, safe and effective vaccines, and how to stay healthy.
Middle Ear Fluid and Your Child
The middle ear is the space behind the eardrum that is usually filled with air. When a child has middle ear fluid (otitis media with effusion), it means that a watery or mucus-like fluid has collected in the middle ear. Otitis media means middle ear inflammation, and effusion means fluid.
Minor Head Injuries in Children
Almost all children bump their heads every now and then. While these injuries can be upsetting, most head injuries are minor and do not cause serious problems. In very rare cases, problems can occur after a minor bump on the head. This publication was written by the American Academy of Pediatrics to help parents understand the difference between a head injury that needs only a comforting hug and one that requires immediate medical attention.
MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) Vaccine (VIS)
Measles, mumps, and rubella are serious
diseases. Before vaccines they were very common, especially among children.
MMRV (Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Varicella) Vaccine (VIS)
Measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella are viral diseases that can have serious consequences. Before vaccines, these diseases were very common in the United States, especially among children. They are still common in many parts of the world.
A pulled elbow (also known as nursemaid’s elbow) is a common, painful injury generally among children under four years old but occasionally older. It occurs when the outer part of the elbow becomes dislocated or slips out of its joint.
Parent’s Guide to Head Lice, A
Though head lice may be a nuisance, they don’t cause serious illness or carry any diseases. Head lice can be treated at home, but it’s important to check with the doctor first.
Meningitis (brain), Bacteremia (bloodstream), Pneumonia (lungs), Sinusitis (sinus membranes), and Otitis media (ears). These infections can be dangerous to very young children, the elderly, and people with certain high-risk health conditions.
Protect Your Child From Poison
Children can get very sick if they come in contact with medicines, household products, pesticides, chemicals, or cosmetics. This can happen at any age and can cause serious reactions. However, most children who come in contact with these things are not permanently hurt if they are treated right away.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infects almost all children at least once before they are 2 years of age. Most of the time, this virus only causes minor cold-like symptoms. However, for some babies infection can be more dangerous.
RSV, Bronchiolitis, and Your Baby
RSV is the short name for respiratory syncytial virus (RES-pruh-tor-ee sin-SISH-ul VYE-ris). Almost all children get RSV at least once before they are 2 years old. For most healthy children, RSV is like a cold. But some children get very sick with RSV.
Seasonal Influenza (Flu)
All flu viruses cause a respiratory illness that can last a week or more. Flu symptoms include
Sinusitis and Your Child
Sinusitis is an inflammation of the lining of the nose and sinuses. It is a very common infection in children.
Sleep Apnea and Your Child
Does your child snore a lot? Does he sleep restlessly? Does he have difficulty breathing, or does he gasp or choke, while he sleeps?
Sleep Problems in Children
Sleep problems are very common during the first few years of life. Problems may include waking up during the night, not wanting to go to sleep, nightmares, sleepwalking, and bedwetting. If frantic upset persists with no apparent cause, call your child's doctor.
Sleep Problems: Your Child’s Sleep Diary
Children differ in how much sleep they need, how long it takes them to fall asleep, and how easily they wake up. If you are concerned about your child’s sleep habits, talk with your child’s doctor. Your child’s doctor may ask you to keep a sleep diary to help track your child’s sleep habits.
Tonsils and the Adenoid
The hospital may have a special program to help you and your child get familiar with the hospital and the surgery. If the hospital allows, try to stay with your child during the entire hospital visit. Let your child know you'll be nearby during the entire operation. Your pediatrician can also help you and your child understand the operation and make it less frightening in the process. A little ice cream afterwards won't hurt either.
Treating Your Child's Pain: Medical Procedures
During certain medical procedures, your child may experience pain. These procedures can include having blood drawn, having breathing or feeding tubes put in, or lumbar punctures (spinal taps). Luckily, pain from these activities does not last long. Read on to find out how your child's pain from medical procedures can be managed.
Type 2 Diabetes: Tips for Healthy Living
Children with type 2 diabetes can live a healthy life. If your child has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, your child's doctor will talk with you about the importance of lifestyle and medication in keeping your child's blood glucose (blood sugar) levels under control.
Urinary Tract Infections in Young Children
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common in young children. These infections can lead to serious health problems. UTIs may go untreated because the symptoms may not be obvious to the child or the parents. The following is information from the American Academy of Pediatrics about UTIs—what they are, how children get them, and how they are treated.
Varicella (Chickenpox) Vaccine (VIS)
Chickenpox (also called varicella) is a common childhood disease. It is usually mild, but it can be serious, especially in
young infants and adults.
What is Clean Intermittent Catheterization?
If your child cannot empty his or her bladder completely, or has a problem with urine leakage, your child may need to start a catheterization program. These problems are commonly seen in children with spina bifida, spinal cord injuries, or some urinary tract defects.