Common childhood diseases

Childhood diseases

As children grow, so their immune systems develop into a strong defence against infections and disease. Unfortunately, during their childhood children will be susceptible to some common diseases.

Here we present a list of the diseases your child is likely to encounter as they grow up.

Chickenpox (varicella)

Chickenpox is a viral infection that is highly contagious common during childhood. The virus is called varicell-zoster and it will usually run its course without any major complications. Chickenpox is caught through direct contact with the broken skin of an infected person or via airborne viral droplets.

The infectious period for chickenpox is typically three to six days after the first spots appear. During this time you should keep your child from school and from seeing other children. After the first appearance of a rash, blisters form and eventually scabs. Infection to outbreak of symptoms is between 10 and 20 days in length.

Symptoms of chickenpox
– Itchy body and face rash – often spreads to scalp, limbs, lining of the mouth and genital area.
– Rash begins as small spots that are red in colour and become blisters within a few hours.
– Blisters turn to scabs after one to two days.
– New blisters can form after 3-6 days (blister numbers vary depending on the individual).
– High temperature.
– Chickenpox symptoms last longer in adults (typically 7-10 for children).

Treatment for chickenpox
Chickenpox usually runs its course without complications although problems such as conjunctivitis, pneumonia, meningitis, myocarditis (heart inflammation) and Reye’s syndrome can occur. Chickenpox can also leave scars from blisters in some cases.

Treating chickenpox usually involves easing the symptoms. Calamine lotion can help with the itchiness but if your child is scratching make sure their nails are cut short or put cotton gloves on their hands. In some cases antihistamines can alleviate itching.

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