What are Common Childhood Ailments?
- Coughs are often present when a child has a cold due to mucus trickling down the back of the throat. Sometimes they are caused by colds and flu, other times by allergies and sinus congestion. Although it can be upsetting to hear, coughing ac-tually helps to clear phlegm away from the chest or mucus from the back of the throat. If your child has a persistent bad cough, consult your health care provider.
- Sore Throats are often caused by viral illnesses such as colds or flu. Your child’s throat may be dry and sore for a day or two before a cold starts.
- Colds are caused by viruses, which result in familiar symptoms like congestion, sneezing, tearing of the eyes, sore throat, and in some cases, coughing. They usually last one to two weeks. A runny nose often begins with a clear drainage and changes colour as the cold matures.
- Ear Infections are common in babies and young children. They are often followed by a cold and sometimes cause a temperature rise. A child may pull or rub at an ear, but babies can’t always tell where pain is coming from and may just cry and seem uncomfortable. Most ear infections are caused by viruses.
- Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease (HFMD) is an infectious disease caused by the coxsackie virus. It is a painful condition causing blisters in the mouth, sore throat and fever. It is present in Singapore all year round with seasonal outbreaks occurring in childcare centres and kindergartens. The EV71 strain of the virus can give rise to serious complications. These complications, usually involving the heart and nervous system (e.g. encephalitis), have been known to be fatal.
A child with HFMD may suffer from some of the following common signs and symptoms:
• Sore throat
• Ulcers in the throat, mouth and tongue
• Headache • Poor appetite • Lethargy
• Rash with vesicles (small blisters 3–7 mm) on the palm of hands, soles of feet and diaper area. The rash may also be present on the buttocks, arms and legs.
However, symptoms may vary between individuals, and at different stages of the disease. E.g. some individuals may only have a rash, while some may show no symptoms at all.
• Loquat, Slippery Elm & Wild Cherry Bark are herbs which support a calm, clear chest and lungs. They make for a powerful, effective, and soothing respiratory tonic.
• Plaintain naturally contains mucilage and has moist cooling properties. It has an inherent ability to support mucous membrane health by soothing occasional irritation.
• Eucalyptus is very helpful in keeping a healthy respiratory system and helps cleanse the body of toxins and harmful microbes that can make you feel sick. It can be useful for conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, congestion and sinusitis.
• Honey is a wonderful natural antibiotic that may promote healing by stimulating cells that are important in regulating immune response, to help in disease and wound healing.
Honey is not recommended to children under the age of 1 — there is a microorganism present in honey that can make infants ill due to their immature digestive system.
• Grindelia may have possible benefits in the respiratory system and may assist in the normal production and elimination of mucous.
• Hyssop may be used to help relieve coughs.
• Elderberry contains organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, sugar, rutin, viburnic acid, vitamin A and B and a large amount of vitamin C. These flavonoids include anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant which may protect cells against damage.
Colds & Sore Throats
• Vitamin C: Studies have shown that Vitamin C may help to shorten the duration and severity of the common cold.
• Zinc Lozenges, when used at the first sign of a cold, may to help stop the virus and shorten the duration of illness.
• Echinacea is thought to support the immune system through the activation of white blood cells, and is believed to improve symptoms of colds and flu.
• Probiotics: Research has shown that daily supplementation of probiotics may decrease incidences of upper respiratory tract infection in children.
• Mullein helps soothe the mucus membranes of respiratory tract and helps clear congestion.
• Vitamin C may stimulate the immune system and help prevent ear infections.
• Willow/Garlic Ear Oil Drops may help to reduce the pain of middle-ear infections in children and support ear health.
• K12 Probiotics may defend against harmful bacteria which cause bacterial sore throat and ear infections.
• Xylitol, a natural sugar found in fruit, may help to control mouth bacteria that causes ear infections.
• Zinc may help stimulate immune function and is commonly recommend for people with recurrent ear infections.
Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease (HFMD)
• Echinacea may stimulate the overall activity of the cells responsible for fighting all kinds of infections.
• Elderberry has been known to help fight against viral infections along with supporting immune health.
• Oregano has potential anti-viral activity. A spray containing aromatic es-sential oils from five plants, including oregano, was found to help re-lieve symptoms in those with upper respiratory infections.
• Vitamin C may help support a healthy immune function and aid to resist infections.
If your child has HFMD, minimize its spread to others in the following ways:
• Let your child rest child at home, away from his school, kindergarten or childcare centre.
• Avoid public places including restaurants, playgrounds and shopping centres.
• Look out for signs and symptoms in other family members, both children and adults, in case of infections.
• Keep your child’s toys, books, eating utensils, towels and clothes separate from others.
• Inform your child’s school, kindergarten, childcare centre or enrichment classes as soon as possible so that they may monitor other children closely and take additional precautions to minimize the spread of HFMD.
This material contains general recommendations only and is not intended to replace the advice of your healthcare practitioner.