5 Health Conditions That Can Affect Your Kids

Posted on: 15 October 2014

Childhood is a critical time for human growth and development -- but it's also a time when the human body faces challenges from a variety of potential ailments. To make sure your kids remain as healthy and productive as possible, be on the lookout for these five common childhood conditions.

1. Asthma

Asthma, a narrowing of the airways leading to the lungs that causes breathing trouble, is a mysteriously widespread threat to children. Kids born prematurely or at a low weight, or whose families have a history of the illness, may be predisposed to asthma. Luckily, many kids manage to shed the condition as their bodies grow to adulthood. 

  • Symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, or breathlessness merit a visit to the pediatrician, who may diagnose asthma.
  • Severe attacks that cause blue lips and an outright failure to breathe call for immediate emergency care.
  • Common asthma remedies include inhaled corticosteroids, oral medications, and avoidance of triggers such as extreme exercise or pet hair.

2. Ear Infections

Children tend to have more trouble with ear infections than adults, mainly because their Eustachian tubes (the tubes that connect the middle ear to the throat on both sides of the head) are smaller and their adenoids (which get infected and pass infections on to the ear) are larger than those of adults.

  • Symptoms include pulling at the ear, ear pain, hearing problems, fever, balance issues, and drainage from the ear.
  • Left untreated, a severe ear infection can cause permanent hearing loss, bone infections, and infections of the brain or spinal fluid.
  • Common treatments include antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and the insertions of tubes that allow fluid to drain.

3. Problems with Baby Teeth

Baby teeth first appear by the age of one year, with the entire set of baby teeth usually erupting within the first three years of life. Even though these teeth will eventually fall out to make room for permanent counterparts, they still play an important role in eating and speaking, so any disorders that affect your child's baby teeth need prompt attention from a children's dentist. These disorders may include:

  • "Bottle mouth" - Juice, milk, and other beverages can harm your child's teeth, especially if he spends all his time sucking on a baby bottle. The acids and sugars introduced through constant bottle feeding can cause enamel corrosion and decay, a condition known as "bottle mouth."
  • Delayed eruption - Sometimes the baby teeth remain in place while the permanent teeth appear, resulting in a double row of teeth. Baby teeth that refuse to make graceful exit could interfere with the proper alignment and spacing of the permanent teeth. Your pediatric dentist can always extract the baby tooth if necessary.

4. Eye Problems

Eye problems, ranging from vision disorders to infections, require the soonest possible care. Some of the eye problems commonly seen in children include:

  • "Lazy eye," a condition in which one eye develops significantly better vision than the other
  • Strabismus, in which the eyes have difficulty focusing
  • Conjunctivitis, a highly infectious condition that turns white of the eye pink or red (hence the nickname "pinkeye")

5. Scoliosis

Scoliosis is an unnatural side-to-side curvature of the spine that typically makes its first appearance in childhood. If your child's shoulders or waist seem to be slightly higher on one side than the other, scoliosis may be to blame. But you don't want to wait until you notice physical signs. Schedule regular spinal screenings for your child so your pediatrician can detect any signs of scoliosis. Prompt treatment can reduce the risk of complications such as back pain and breathing problems.

From dental issues to progressive spinal misalignment, childhood ailments can seriously undermine your child's quality of life. But by understanding some of the more common issues and seeking out the proper pediatric care, you can help remove these obstacles to a happy, healthy childhood.