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Common Childhood Illnesses – the low-down

Common Childhood Illnesses – the low-down

Whilst medical advances and immunisation programmes have helped to significantly decrease the amount of childhood illnesses our current generation of kids experience, some remain very much in the here and now and are pretty much unavoidable.

Here is our low-down on those pesky childhood illnesses that our nearest and dearest are likely to come across in some degree as they grow up.


  1. Tonsillitis - this painful infection of the tonsils can really cause distress with symptoms such as a sore throat, headache, raised temperature and swollen glands. Some children are prone to the symptoms on a recurrent basis which can be thoroughly miserable but removing the tonsils is a permanent cure.

  2. Impetigo - resulting in small red spots that become blisters and become infected, impetigo is highly infectious so mixing with others must be avoided. An anti-biotic cream will usually clear things up but in the interim, expect a poorly and irritated child. 

  3. Chickenpox - it’s one of those illnesses that parents both dread and welcome, knowing that once a child has had it once it is unlikely that he or she will get it again. Highly infectious, a rash develops into blisters that then scab and itch. Picking them can cause permanent scarring and the whole experience can be quite distressing.

  4. Scarlet fever - as the name suggests, a red rash spreads across the skin resulting in a tell-tale flushed face as well as a bumpy texture to the affected area. Anti-biotics are a must have and a child can feel tired and unwell during the duration.

  5. Slapped cheek syndrome - this is a viral disease that results in a tell-tale redness to the cheeks, hence the slapped cheek name. Children will feel as if they have cold like symptoms, meaning that they will feel quite poorly until everything clears.

  6. Gastroenteritis - just as when adults get sickness and diarrhoea, gastroenteritis can be really uncomfortale and distressing. It is vital that fluid levels are kept up so consider buying a rehydration fluid over the counter.

  7. Ear infections - common in childhood, this is a painful condition that also brings a raised temperature and a real feeling of being not well. Take pain relief as recommended by your chemist or if symptoms are severe enough, contact your GP for advice.

  8. Flu - immunisation programmes are currently in place to reduce the prevalence of this unpleasant disease, but if your child gets it, expect them to feel quite unwell for the duration. High fever, chills, aches as well as associated cold like symptoms mean that a large amount of rest is needed as you recover.

  9. Hand, foot and mouth disease - this viral infection results in a rash to the palms of the hands and soles of feet. Usually self-healing, this is potentially one of the least distressing of the childhood illnesses.

  10. Whooping cough - characterised by the tell-tale sound that the cough makes, this illness comes with cold like symptoms. Spread through coughing and sneezing, there has been a reduction in the number of cases due to immunisation, but it is still a disease that occurs in significant enough amounts. The disease needs antibiotics before your child will feel better.