Common cold is a very wide-spread viral infection that mainly affects the nasal cavity, thus causing a running nose. Sometimes, the throat and sinuses and voice box may be affected. The common type of cold is caused by rhinovirus. However, there are more than 200 virus strains causing common cold, while there is no vaccine to protect from them (Agins, 1999). Cold is known to spread quickly through the air from an infected person to the next once they come into contact.
Symptoms of common cold include a runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, congestion, sneezing, and general malaise. These complications may come and go, becoming more severe at certain times and environments. Thus, common cold is usually gone in a few days or 3 weeks at most, but sometimes, it may cause major complications. Among these complications, one can name the following ones.
Sinusitis is an infection of the small air-filled cavities within the forehead and cheekbones. It can be prevented by washing hands, avoid smoking, and immunization. There are also painkillers and nasal steroids and irrigation that can help with the symptoms.
Middle ear infection (Otitis Media) is a health condition that mostly affects children, but may pass in a few days without any need for treatment. When this infection becomes severe, the use of antibiotics is discouraged. Sometimes, surgery is required to treat the infection if it does not responding to the usual treatment.
Chest infections, such as bronchitis and pneumonia, occur after common cold weakens the immune system. Minor cases will resolve in a few weeks without specific treatment, but when the infection becomes more serious, like in the case of pneumonia, antibiotics can be very effective. These complications can also be prevented by getting a vaccination, eating plenty of fruits, and having regular medical checkups.
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Diaper Rash in Infants
Diaper rash in infants is an irritation of the diaper area that can be noticed from its reddening. Thus, rush can be mild with a few red spots or sensitive with tender bumps that spread to the tummy and thighs. It can be caused by wetness that occurs from urine and bacteria mixture to form ammonia, which can be very harsh, or the rubbing of the diaper against the skin if the child is sensitive to fragrances in disposable diapers or detergents used to wash them. Introduction to solid or new foods can also be a reason since the stool composition changes, thus causing some reaction. Antibiotics taken by the infant’s mother have also been known to affect the child if she stull breastfeeds the infant (Agins, 1999).
Diaper rash can be very uncomfortable for infants, and it may even cause a serious skin infection that may require a doctor’s attention. It can be prevented by regular checking of baby’s diapers for wetness, the use of barrier creams to reduce contact between the skin and diaper area, the use of baby powder to dry this area but keep it away from the baby’s face, and tight-fitting diapers should also be avoided. When introducing new foods, this process should start slowly to enable the baby’s organism to adapt slowly to solid food.
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Diarrhea in Young Children
Diarrhea is a very common problem among young children. It is the body’s way of ridding itself of germs. It can last up to a week at most, and it is often accompanied by dehydration, nausea, cramps, fever, and vomiting. It is caused by the use of certain medications, such as laxatives or antibiotics, or the infection from viruses and bacteria, food poisoning, irritable bowel disease, lactose intolerance, and various allergies.
This condition can cause various complications, including severe dehydration since the body loses water and salts. This can lead to dry skin, thirst, less frequent urination, dark-colored urine, and lightheadedness. The condition can be managed by making sure afflicted children take plenty of fluids, depending on the frequency of diarrhea. They should also be fed with mild foods and avoid spicy foods, fruits, and milk for at least three days after the symptoms disappear. After the symptoms pass, one should add semisolid and low-fiber foods, such as eggs and rice, to the child’s diet. Anti-diarrhea non-prescription medicine can be used to stop the symptoms, but it should not be used for long, so just after stool thickens, it is advisable to stop using it (Agins, 1999). The condition can be prevented by maintaining high hygienic standards, especially when preparing children’s food and making sure that meals are thoroughly cooked. Vaccination is also an option to prevent diarrhea from rotavirus, which is a common cause of viral diarrhea in children. Children should also be instructed to wash their hands on a regular basis, especially after visiting the bathroom.
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Earaches usually occur in children but they can also affect adults. This condition can affect both ears, but mostly, it affects just one ear. It is painful, with a burning sensation that may occur occasionally or regularly. It can be caused by the fluid, building up in the eardrum, injury to the canal from sharp-pointed objects, eczema within the ear, an infected hair follicle in the canal, blockage from earwax or stuck objects, nerve pain in the face, throat infections like colds, or even dental problems.
Earaches can cause complications with severe ear pain that can lead to restlessness and discomfort, loss of appetite, sleep deprivation, temporal hearing problems. and balance issues. A long-term hearing loss is rare, but still, it is a possibility. If infected repeatedly, some children may develop speech learning and understanding problems. Sometimes, the eardrum can rupture if the fluid buildup increases, thus leaving a small hole that often heals in a two weeks’ time. Repeated infection can also cause tissue growth behind the eardrum (cholesteatoma) that, if unchecked, can block the middle ear and affect hearing; in this case, surgery is necessary to remove the growth. There may also be damage to the tiny bones in the ear, with rare effects to those behind the ear (mastoiditis). Damage to the tissues surrounding the brain and spinal cord are also rare possibilities.
Earache is usually treatable and unlikely to lead to long-term problems. It can be treated using over the counter age appropriate painkillers, eardrops unless ear drum ruptures, and antibiotics. Earaches and related infections can be prevented by having children receive all recommended immunizations; breastfeeding has also been scientifically known to help reduce chances of infection, especially if they run in the family (Agins, 1999). It is recommended that adults avoid smoking around children, avoid people with colds, wash hands, and clean their ears the proper way on a regular basis to get rid of germs and bacteria.
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Stomach Aches in Children
Stomach aches in children are a very common condition that at one time or another has been experienced in every family. They are often accompanied with some fever, vomiting, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. The common causes of stomachaches are stress, viral or bacterial infections, food allergies (lactose intolerance, for example), celiac disease, or even appendicitis. Most causes are not dangerous, but the most serious one is appendicitis as it requires immediate treatment (Agins, 1999).
Stomach aches can cause complications that are easily treated. The most serious problem that may be experienced is when the appendix ruptures, thus causing severe pain, fever, and abdominal swelling with a serious blood infection called septicemia. Other complications include: bloating, changes in bowel habits (for example, constipation and diarrhea), fatigue, loss of appetite, vomiting, and unexpected weight loss.
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Appendicitis management will require surgery to remove the appendix before it ruptures. However, minor cases can be controlled by eating small meals frequently, drinking plenty of water daily, limiting the intake of foods and liquids that produce gas, such as legumes and carbonated drinks respectively, and avoiding overeating.