For most children, occasional health issues are a part of growing up. Children are still developing their immune systems, so even with the best health practices and lifestyle choices, you can expect your child to develop minor illnesses and health conditions at points during childhood.
The best thing you can do as a parent is to educate yourself on the signs of common childhood health issues and ensure your child gets the right pediatric care when they arise. Board-certified pediatrician Rainilda Valencia, MD, and her team work with parents and caregivers at Valencia Pediatrics in Victorville, California, to make sure their children get the best care possible when they develop a health condition.
Dr. Valencia shares some of the most common health issues she sees in children and what you can do when your child has symptoms.
The common cold
Common colds occur frequently in children who interact with other children, especially during the winter months. Colds aggravate your child’s upper respiratory system, causing a runny nose, coughing, and congestion, but they don’t usually cause a fever.
Most of the time, colds aren’t serious, and your child can recover at home within two weeks without medical treatment. Encourage your child to stay hydrated and get rest, and contact Valencia Pediatrics for advice if your child doesn’t improve after two weeks.
Allergies and asthma
Many children suffer from allergies, which means their bodies react to a normally harmless substance, causing a reaction. Children most commonly have allergies to mold, food, pet dander, pollen, and insects.
Allergies can cause symptoms that range from being annoying but not dangerous, like watery eyes and sneezing, to life-threatening anaphylactic shock. Asthma, which causes your child to wheeze and have difficulty breathing, is another common reaction to allergies.
Dr. Valencia devises a treatment plan that helps your child avoid or reduce allergy symptoms. She also prescribes inhalers for asthma and life-saving treatments like an EpiPen® for anaphylactic shock.
Small, developing inner ear tubes make children especially prone to conditions that cause ear pain, including ear infections, sinus infections, and swimmer’s ear. If your child’s ear pain is severe or doesn’t go away on its own, Dr. Valencia can diagnose your child and prescribe treatments like an antibiotic after an examination.
Children regularly cough, and their coughing can have a number of causes, which include colds, allergies, sinus infections, and bronchitis. Most causes of coughs are viral infections and go away within a couple of weeks with home care like drinking warm fluids and getting rest.
Call Valencia Pediatrics for an evaluation if your child’s cough includes labored breathing, wheezing, a high fever, or isn’t showing signs of going away after a couple of weeks.
Rashes and dry skin are especially common in infants and young children. Usually, rashes and other skin issues clear up on their own.
If your child appears to have a skin infection or has a history of staph infections, Dr. Valencia performs a culture to diagnose a skin issue and prescribes any needed treatment. Go to the emergency room if your child’s rash presents with vomiting and a high fever.
Sore throats regularly strike children, and a painful sore throat can be a result of a virus, bacterial infection, or allergies. Most sore throats are viral in nature and go away with time and home care.
It’s impossible to tell without a test if a sore throat is caused by a virus or strep throat, so if your child’s sore throat isn’t improving, Dr. Valencia can perform a culture to determine if your child has strep throat. She prescribes antibiotics to treat a bacterial infection.
When to see the pediatrician
For most viral childhood illnesses, our team recommends letting your child rest and get better at home without visiting Valencia Pediatrics. However, our team can help if your child’s illness or health condition isn’t getting better, takes a turn for the worse, or develops complications from the initial illness.
Our team is also here to prescribe antibiotics for bacterial infections and an inhaler, EpiPen, or other medications for allergies and asthma. You should visit the emergency room if your child is struggling to breathe, vomiting nonstop, or has a very high fever for more than a couple of days.
For pediatric care for your healthy or sick child, call our office for care advice or to make an appointment.