Childhood Diseases Child Health Issues

A child’s immune system isn’t fully developed in the first few years of life, which is why children often contract a wide variety of illnesses. Viruses and bacteria that would not cause an adult any problems may result in a mild infection or cold in an infant or young child.

This becomes much more obvious when groups of children are gathered together in one place, such as in a pre-school or daycare center. Here, children of similar ages interact and play with one another. While this is beneficial for the social development of children, the likelihood of spreading diseases is greatly increased.

If just one child has a cold or disease, the chances that the illness will spread to the other children is fairly high. This is why young children tend to get sick so often and why large groups of children in a school tend to get sick around the same time.

In addition, children don’t always practice the hygienic practices of adults, such as washing hands frequently and covering their mouths when they cough or sneeze. This can allow for the further growth and spread of viruses and bacteria.

Teaching children about the benefits of hand washing, especially before eating and after using the restroom, is, therefore, very important. Many parents also teach children to frequently use liquid antibacterial or antibacterial wipes that they can carry with them to school in bags or backpacks, which can help protect them against viruses and bacteria.

In this section, we’ll discuss all aspects of common child health issues and childhood illnesses, including bronchitis and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. We’ll offer information on causes, symptoms, treatment and more for these ailments.

Bronchitis

Bronchitis is a respiratory condition that affects the airways, or bronchi, of the lungs. The condition affects children and adults, but children more often experience a form of the condition known as acute bronchitis.

Acute bronchitis is usually caused by a virus. The condition can last from a few days to up to a few weeks. Coughing often persists after other symptoms have disappeared.

Bronchitis and bronchiolitis, a similar condition that affects mostly children under the age of two, often clear on their own, but over-the-counter medications can help alleviate symptoms. In cases where bacteria cause the condition, prescriptions or bronchodilators may be prescribed by a doctor.

For an accurate diagnosis, a doctor should be seen and tests such as chest X-rays and blood tests may be used to rule out any conditions other than bronchitis.

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Unlike people with adult arthritis, children with juvenile arthritis can often outgrow the condition. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, ongoing condition that causes joint pain and inflammation and usually affects children under age 16.

In the United States, over 300,000 children have some form of arthritis. While the exact cause of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, many researchers and medical professionals believe that it is caused by an autoimmune disease, meaning the immune system cannot distinguish its own cells from foreign cells and begins to attack them. This causes pain, inflammation and soreness.

Treatment options for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis can include exercise, medications and physical therapy. In some cases, surgery may be necessary for children suffering from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

Resources

Children’s Hospital Boston (2007). Bronchitis, Acute. Retrieved August 31, 2007, from the Children’s Hospital Boston Web site: http://www.childrenshospital.org/az/Site561/printerfriendlypageS561P0.html.

eMedicine.com, Inc. (updated 2005). Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Retrieved August 31, 2007, from the eMedicine.com Web site: http://www.emedicinehealth.com/juvenile_rheumatoid_arthritis/article_em.htm.

Healthy World Online (1996). Childhood Bronchitis. Retrieved August 31, 2007, from the Healthy World Online Web site: http://www.healthy.net/scr/article.asp?ID=985.

MedicineNet (2007). Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. Retrieved August 31, 2007, from the MedicineNet Web site: http://www.medicinenet.com/juvenile_arthritis/article.htm.

National Library of Medicine (2007). Bronchitis. Retrieved August 31, 2007, from the NLM Web site: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/bronchitis.html.

Nemours Foundation (2004). Bronchitis. Retrieved August 31, 2007, from the Nemours Foundation Web site: http://www.kidshealth.org/teen/infections/common/bronchitis.html.

Nemours Foundation (2005). Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Retrieved August 31, 2007, from the Nemours Foundation Web site: http://www.kidshealth.org/parent/medical/arthritis/jra.html.