Common childhood infections include Respiratory Syncytial Virus, fifth disease, hand foot and mouth disease. Most of the childhood infection diseases are caused due to viral and bacterial infection.
Several childhood infections that cause illnesses are a result of viruses or bacteriawhen they come into contact with other children at playschools and kindergarten who are infected.Some of these illnesses are described in more detail below:
- RSV or Respiratory Syncytial Virus causes a lot more problems for children than influenza. The symptoms are similar, such as fever, runny nose and cough. It can be a serious infection for babies less than 1 year causing pneumonia and bronchiolitis, an infection that results in inflammation of the small air passages to the lungs and causes the child to wheeze. Severe cases need to be hospitalised. The infection lasts for about two weeks. Unlike other diseases, you are not immune to it after having it once, but the later infections are milder, like a normal flu.
- Fifth Disease is the cryptic name given by a French physician who assigned numbers to childhood infection diseases characterised by rashes. Measles was first disease, scarlet fever as second disease and so on. Fifth disease is also called ‘slapped cheek’ as it causes a red rash on the cheek and on the torso and limbs. The infections are not serious and disappear in 10 days.
- Hand Foot and Mouth Disease causes a fever with sores inside the mouth and on the palms and soles of the feet. It is a virus infection called enteroviruses, which go around in the US in summer and early autumn. Fortunately even though it causes discomfort, it goes away after about 10 days.
- Croup is caused by parainfluenza viruses that causes a cough similar to the one a child has during a common cold. Typically it lasts for about a week and is seen in children less than 6 years, and most frequently in 2 year olds.
- Scarlet Feveris achildhood infection that causes a rash to appear with ‘strep throat’, a bacterial infection of the throat and tonsils causing the child to have a sore throat and high fever. A rash appears starting on the chest and abdomen and spreads throughout the body. It was once a deadly childhood disease but is now easily curable with antibiotics.
- Impetigo is a bacterial skin infection mostly seen in children of 2 to 6 years. It appears as clusters of itchy bumps or sores that weep fluid that is infectious to children and adults as well. Antibiotics are efficacious in clearing up impetigo infections, normally not leaving scars.
- Whooping Cough is a contagious bacterial infection; that can affect children and adults. Infants tend to get more severely ill with it. All children should get vaccinated against whooping cough.
In conclusion, childhood infections cause illnesses that are a torment to children and give anxious moments to parents as well. Most of them are a result of viral or bacterial infections that children pick up from other children at the confines of playschools and kindergartens. Children should be taught ‘infection etiquette’ by covering their mouth with handkerchiefs while coughing and washing their hands with disinfectant soap immediately afterwards, to prevent passing on infections.
Some of the common illnesses caused by viruses and bacteria are discussed in detail above. They are:
- Fifth disease
- Hand Foot and Mouth disease
- Scarlet Fever
- Whooping cough
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