Thursday 8 December 2022

Common childhood illnesses

This is a collaborative post

It might seem like your child is constantly picking up infections and viruses. From starting nursery, to playing outdoors, children are exposed to new germs all the time. Their immune systems are also still developing, which makes them more prone to ailments. It’s therefore very likely that your child will at some point catch some of the most common childhood illnesses. But what are these common ailments and how can you relieve them? 

Common cold

The common cold is caused by a virus in the upper respiratory tract and, although rarely serious, it can leave your child feeling miserable. Colds are extremely common and your little one is bound to catch one sooner or later. Symptoms of the cold include a blocked and runny nose, cough, sore throat, sneezing, fever, and sore ears. Colds don’t respond to antibiotics, but you can ease your child’s discomfort by giving them warm baths and hot drinks, and making sure they drink plenty of fluids. Paracetamol can also help if your little one is running a slight fever or has a headache. 


If your child develops a rash that turns into red, itchy spots on the face and body, then they might have chickenpox. Chickenpox is very contagious, so make keep your child home until the spots have crusted over into scabs. Give your child cool baths to relieve the itching and try to discourage them from scratching as this can cause scarring. Thankfully, chickenpox is usually mild and most children will get it at some point. Furthermore, studies show that exposure to the chickenpox virus in childhood reduces the chances of getting shingles as adults. The chickenpox vaccine is an effective protection against the virus and is recommended for babies aged 12 months and over. You can arrange vaccination through Childhealthy, which specialises in high-quality personalised paediatric care services. 

Stomach flu

Also known as gastroenteritis, stomach flu is caused by a virus. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle aches, and a slight fever.  Whilst stomach flu should pass within a few days, it’s important to make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids as vomiting and diarrhoea can put them at risk of dehydration. Replace lost water and salts by giving your child frequent small sips of water or juice. 


Bronchitis is caused by a swelling of the airways and lungs, usually because of a virus. Symptoms of bronchitis include soreness in the chest, coughing, tiredness, muscle aches, sore throat, and headache. You might also notice that your child is breathing rapidly, having trouble breathing, or that they are wheezing. Antibiotics won’t help, but you can relieve your child’s symptoms by ensuring that they stay hydrated and keeping them away from tobacco smoke. 

Child having temperature taken
Photo credit Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash


Sinusitis is the medical term for a sinus infection and is usually caused by a virus. Symptoms that suggest your child has a sinus infection include a runny or stuffy nose, pressure or pain in the face, headache, sore throat, coughing, and bad breath. Usually, you can ease your child’s symptoms with over-the-counter medicines and by ensuring they stay hydrated. However, if the sinusitis is caused by bacteria trapped in the sinuses, then antibiotics can help


Common childhood illnesses are difficult to avoid and in most cases, you just have to let them run their course. While it’s not pleasant to see your little one suffering, thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can relieve their symptoms. 

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