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Children Health Issues

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Common Cold in Children

Common Cold is caused because of upper respiratory system infection due to cold
virus. This infection affects parts such as ears, nose and throat. There are
about two hundred known viruses which are responsible for common cold, out of
which rhinovirus is the most common. Because of this great number of viruses,
there isn't any shot or vaccination available which helps in preventing cold.
The best solution to the cold is human body immune system. Majority of a
child's visit to the doctor will be because of cold. According to an estimate,
a child catches cold nearly eight times in a year and each time it last up to a
week or so.

Cold viruses usually spread by sneeze or cough from the infected person. The
wet and slimy substance inside the nose, called mucus, is the carrier of the
virus. When a person cough or sneeze, the mucus drops come out of the mouth and
when other persons breaths in these droplets they catch cold. Cold can also
spread by handling of contaminated stuffs like towel, door knobs, school desk,
etc. If a person touches a contaminated towel and then touches his nose or
eyes, there is a great chance of getting an infection. Therefore, it is a good
habit to wash the hands regularly and keep them germ-free.

The cold viruses have docking points which helps it to stick to the interior of
the nose. It then controls the nose's cell lining and begins to multiply into
more viruses. White cells are responsible to fight these viruses inside the
nose. They even kill them and finally get victory after seven days. Sneeze and
runny nose actually prevent the viruses to affect the rest of the body parts. A
person sneezes when the nerves inside the nose detect irritation and take the
help of the lungs to push them out by letting out a blast of air through the
mouth and the nose. The air, while sneezing, comes out at the speed of hundred
miles per hour faster than cars on the road.

Once the child contracts cold viruses, they take two to three days to develop
and show symptoms. There are many symptoms of cold. The child becomes cranky.
He will complain of headache, blocked nose, cough, sneeze, sore throat, muscle
ache, nasal cavity congestion and will become exhausted. Low fever can also
accompany, along with body chills. Medicines do not speed up the process of
healing as the viruses complete their cycle irrespective of the intake. But
they do suppress further growth and make the child feel better.

Children shouldn't take any medicines on their own, thinking that it's just a
cold. Parents should supervise the dosage and medicine being taken. And in
turn, the parents should follow a doctor's prescription. Decongestants help to
decrease the wise of the swollen nose lining, which makes breathing easier.
Antihistamines help to dry the mucus and stops sneezes and runny noses.
Ibuprofen and acetaminophen can be given if the child is experiencing headache
and muscle ache.

At home, parents should give hot food and drink to the child as they help to
soothe soar throats and coughs. The heat also clears up the mucus. Chicken soup
is an age old remedy for common cold. Steamy showers are another good option as
they help with stuffy nose. Itchy eyes, scratchy throat and stuffy throats can
also be treated with humidifiers which spray cool and fine mist. They also
loosen the mucus. The nose should be blown regularly to let the mucus out of
the body. It is a good idea to use disposable tissues instead of regular
handkerchiefs. Complete bed rest for a day or two is greatly suggested.

The best precaution that can be taken is eating healthy food and balanced diet
so as to strengthen the immune system. The child must exercise regularly in
order to stay fir and sleep adequately. Children who are stressed out more
frequently are more prone to have cold. Therefore, it is good if the kid takes
extra rest and goes to bed early on some days. And when the child is suffering
from cold, he should relax and take bed rest as much as possible.

Tonsils and Tonsillitis in Children

Tonsils are two tissue balls located at the back of the throat. They play a
vital role and are an important part of the body's infection fighting mechanism
by helping to fight germs and diseases. Tonsils deal with the germs before they
reach mouth, throat, or sinuses. When these infection fighters are infected by
viruses or bacteria, the condition is known as tonsillitis.

The symptoms of tonsillitis are: as the time passes, eating, drinking and
swallowing things become difficult. The pain can be accompanied with fever,
earache and headache. The tonsils can be seen too. Just open the mouth wide
open and the two masses of tissues at the either side of the throat are
tonsils. They are usually dark pink in color, but when they get infected they
turn red. A white or yellow coating can also be formed on the tonsils. There is
an obvious change in voice as it becomes hoarser. The infected child can also
develop bad breath. The infected kid can also get abdominal pain and can throw
up what he eats. Tonsillitis is caused by both bacterial infection and viral
infection. Bacterium known as streptococci causes infections which require
special treatment.

When the child gets tonsillitis, the parent should give lots of fluids to
drink. Smooth food should be consumed to ease the pain caused by swallowing
coarse, crunchy, and hard food. Food like soups, ice creams, applesauce, and
gelatin are a good option. Spicy food should also be avoided. A humidifier or
cool mist vaporizer can be placed in the child's room as that will make
breathing more easily. The kid must be given maximum rest and complete bed rest
for at least two days is recommended. The bacteria and viruses cause tonsillitis
to spread by sneezing, coughing or touching. The infected child must cover
his/her mouth while coughing and sneezing. A disposable tissue can be used
instead of a towel or handkerchief. Things such as utensils, towel, clothing,
etc. of the sick kid should be separated so that the rest of the family doesn't
get affected.

The doctor inspects the tonsils using a wooden stick known as tongue depressor,
which will lower the tongue, so that the doctor can have a good look at the
tonsils. After that the doctor checks the ears and nose. Heartbeat will be
checked. If the doctor suspects strep, he/she will take a sample of saliva from
the back of the throat using a long cotton swab, which can gag up the child a
bit. After a day or two the results are received. Some doctors conduct a
similar test known as rapid strep test, which give results within few minutes.
Antibiotics are given when the test results come positive for strep. The
bacteria get killed only when the course is completed and the correct dosage is
taken at correct time.

If virus is the cause of infection, there is no medicine for it and instead the
body is capable of fighting the virus on its own. When the tonsils infection
becomes frequent and the child finds it difficult to breath because of
tonsillitis, it is recommended to get the tonsils removed. But it is the last
resort after all other treatments do not do the trick, because tonsils are very
important to the body's immune system.

The tonsils are taken out by surgery known as tonsillectomy. After the surgery,
the child won't suffer from sore throat and breathing problems anymore. The
surgery won't even leave any scars. A day before the surgery, the child cannot
eat or drink, to keep the child from throwing up during the operation. The
operation is very short and last for only twenty minutes. Because of the
anesthesia, the child won't feel a thing during the operation. And during the
surgery, the tonsils are removed using an electric cautery, which is a burning
tool, or a cutting tool. After the surgery, the child is given lots of fluids
and after a day soft foods can also be given. Usually it takes about two weeks
to completely recover from the surgery and the child can return back to normal

Stomach Flu in Children

Stomach flu or gastroenteritis is a kind of infection in the digestive system,
especially the stomach and intestines. Causes for this condition are parasite,
bacteria, or virus infection spread through contaminated food and fluids. It
can also be caused by certain toxins present in some plants & seafood, usage of
powerful laxatives in order to cure constipation or because of intake of
poisonous heavy metal or food. The problem starts with stomach upset and
cramps. The child shows disinterest in eating and feels week. Symptoms of
stomach flu are diarrhea and vomiting, which take nearly five days to go away.
Sometimes, even fever can accompany along with dehydration.

The child must be given fluids regularly as this will suppress other symptoms
from emerging because of loss of water from the body. Loss of water and salt
from the body is the biggest risk in stomach flu. Dehydration can not only
worsen the condition, but can threaten the life of the child, if it isn't taken
care of in the early stages. Since there is loss of salts along with the loss of
water from the body, plain water won't do much. Oral rehydration solutions which
are available at the local grocery or drug store, is a good idea because it has
the correct combination of salts, sugar and water which can hydrate the body.
These fluids come in different flavor, so that kids can have their favorite
flavor and is easy to consume. The solution shouldn't be added with anything
else such as sugar or water.

If a child is vomiting, solution can be administered to him using a teaspoon
every two minutes. The quantity can be increased gradually. If the vomiting is
more frequent, the child can be made to suck ice chips in order to supply
constant fluid to the body. The solution should be given till diarrhea comes to
a halt, but it is not advisable to continue it for more than twenty four hours.
Some of the fluids such as soft drinks, sports drink, apple juice, tea, or
chicken broth contain wrong amounts of salt, sugar & water and can make matter
worse. Besides fluids, the parent shouldn't give any type of medicine without
consulting a pediatrician. Fried, spicy and sugary foods aren't good in this
condition. If the child isn't receiving sufficient amount of fluids he/she will
show signs such as sunken eyes, dry mouth, intense thirst, unusual sleep
patterns, and decrease in urine.

The more the bed rest taken by the child the better it is. The child should
take complete bed rest for at least twenty four hours or till the diarrhea and
vomiting stops. If the child has fever, the temperature should be checked and
noted in a log, every four hours. If the temperature is very high and doesn't
stop climbing, the doctor should be contacted immediately. The person who is
preparing and serving food to the child should wash his or her hands very
carefully before doing so. Also, if the diarrhea and vomiting doesn't stop
after twenty four hours, it is a must to get a doctor's appointment. The child
should be rushed into emergency if the vomiting contains blood or green color

The doctor, after doing stool and blood test, prescribes antibiotics if
infection is suspected. Along with it, anti nausea medicines are also given to
stop the throwing up and control fluid loss. If there is considerable loss of
fluids from the child's body, the child might be admitted into the hospital and
will be administered with fluids such as glucose or IV, through a tube connected
to the child's veins. If the child has fever, temperature is checked and the
doctor would ask about information about the temperature pattern, for which the
parent should be ready. If the illness is stretched for days, a log about the
information about the daily weight should also be given to the doctor.
Sometimes, the blood oxygen levels would also have to be checked with the help
of a pulse oximeter.

Motion Sickness in Children

Children usually feel sick in the stomach when travelling in a car, airplane,
boat or train. This sickness is known as motion sickness. This sickness is
caused by reception of wrong signals by eyes, muscles, skin receptors, and
inner ears.

While travelling, different body parts send different signals to the brain.
Eyes see things around and it sends signals about the direction of movement
while in motion. The joint sensory receptors and muscles send signals about the
movement of the muscles and the position in which the body is. The skin
receptors send signals about the parts of the body which are in contact with
the ground. The inner ears have a fluid in the semicircular canals. This fluid
senses motion and the direction of motion like forward, backward, up, down,
circular, or to and fro. When the brain gets timely reports from the various
body parts, it tries to find a relation between all the signals and then
sketches a picture about the body's movement and position at a particular
instant. But when the brain isn't able to find a link and isn't able to draw a
picture out of the received signals, the condition called motion sickness is

For example, if a child is riding in a car and reading something at the same
time, the eyes will see stationary book. But the skin receptors and the inner
ears will sense the body moving in a forward direction. The eyes and the muscle
receptors will send signals that the body is not moving. This confuses the brain
and everything is jumbled up in the head. This makes the child dizzy, sick in
the stomach and even tired. There is a possibility of the child throwing up, so
it is recommended that the parents carry a sick bag each time they are
travelling with kids. And if the child is feeling anxious or scared, the
condition can deteriorate further.

Although there are medicines available over the counter to deal with motion
sickness, some measures should be taken to avoid medicine and also motion
sickness. The child should always be made to sit facing in the forward
direction. He/she should not face or sit backwards, nor should he be made to
sit in a seat facing backwards. This helps the ears and the eyes to send
similar kind of signal. It is good if the kid isn't involved in some kind of
activity like reading, playing video games or something which is stationary.
He/she must be asked to look outside, especially at things which are located at
a distance. The same applies when travelling in an airplane. When travelling in
a boat, the child can go to the upper deck and look at the horizon. Basically,
the child must be made to concentrate at things which are located at a distance
and are in motion. When looking at something stationary, the eyes get confused
and send wrong signals.

It also helps to sit in a place which is moving the least. Usually, it is the
center point of the body, so the more close the child sits to the center, the
better. Like when in an airplane, it is good to sit in seats in the middle
aisle and not in those which are located near the wings. If the child is
sitting in the center of the boat, instead of the front or the side, the lesser
seasick the child will feel. In spite of all these measures if the child is
still feeling sick a doctor should be consulted. The doctor checks the inner
ears for any defect. He will also check other body parts which are responsible
for sensing motion. Apart from medicine, pressure bracelets are also available
at the local pharmacy. And along with carrying a sick bag or any other plastic
bag, the car can be pulled over and the child should be walked out a bit to
feel better.

Flu and Cold in Children

Flu and cold usually accompany each other when attacking a child's immune
system. It is a wide spread viral infection and the harsh truth is that there
is no permanent treatment designed for it because of the involvement of many
types of viruses which cannot be killed, but yes their growth rate can be
suppressed. Symptomatic treatments can trigger the rate of improvement in the
child's health, but it might not work for all kids.

The child can get affected by the flu and cold virus when he is exposed to an
infected person. The symptoms are mild headache, feeling of tiredness, stuffy
or runny nose, watery eyes, light fever, sneezing, cough, muscle aches, and
sore throat. It takes two to five days for the symptoms to appear and three to
five days for the complete development of the virus. It takes nearly two weeks
to completely get rid of the flu. The virus attacks the upper respiratory
system. These are the symptoms of cold. The symptoms of flu are more terrible
than cold and grow very rapidly. They are high fever, runny nose, sore throat,
nasal congestion, chills, fatigue and nausea, vomiting, eye pain and extreme
headache. Symptoms are extremely important when trying to differentiate between
flu and a cold. As stated before, the symptoms of flu are more severe when
compared to the symptoms of cold. Also, it is easier to get over cold than flu.
The biggest clue will be recalling any incident of exposure to patients having
either flu or cold. Even after thorough analysis, if it is difficult to reach
any clear conclusion, a doctor should be consulted. A swab is taken from the
nasal track or throat and the results are determined an hour after the test is

No antibiotics work on these viruses. Intake of antibiotics cannot better the
condition in any way whatsoever. Also, there are chances of secondary bacterial
infections like sinus or ear infection. The child should be administered with
fluids and a cool mist humidifier to suppress the symptoms and to help him feel
better. Medications are available over the counter which can be bought depending
on the symptoms of the infected. Antiviral medicines are available for the
treatment of flu, which hasten the recovery process. But the medicines are
effective only when given within forty eight hours after the onset of flu
symptoms. Runny nose, especially of infants and kids who cannot blow their
nose, can be taken care of with the help of a bulb syringe or nasal drop. If
flu isn't treated at the right time, it can worsen the health of the infected
and can also lead to pneumonia.

Flu is a very commonly spreading infection among school going kids. According
to a research, nearly twenty percent of Americans are infected with flu every
year and nearly twenty thousand people die because of it. The only way to
prevent the child from contracting these virus is by getting him/her a flu shot
before the flu season or as recommended by the physician. The vaccine is either
administered through a shot or nasal spray. Regular dosage will strengthen the
immune system by constructing antibodies. The nasal spray vaccine contains live
weakened viruses and shots contain completely dead viruses. By any chance, if
the child does get exposed to the virus, he/she should be given medicine meant
for flu patients, immediately. More than hundred viruses are known which cause
cold. A lesser number of viruses are known to causes flu. That is the reason
why there is a shot for flu and not cold.

But flu shot cannot be taken by anyone or everyone. People who complain of
allergic reactions from previous flu shots, people who have the Guillain-Barre
syndrome and people allergic to eggs are not eligible for flu shots. It is
highly recommended to take advice from a physician before getting vaccinated.
Children and elderly should be given nasal spray vaccination, but instead they
should opt for flu shots. Out of total population, there are certain people who
have a greater probability of getting flu. Children up to five years of age,
elders older than sixty five years, nursing home residents, pregnant women,
patients with long term problems regarding health, and health care workers who
come directly in contact with flu patients.

Sinus and Sinus Attack in Children

Sinus might seem like common cold at first. The child coughs, sneezes and gets
a red nose, like in cold. But the difference is that sinus attack last longer
than common cold. Sinuses are spaces in the bones of the face and the head
which are filled with air. They are exactly located on both sides of the nose,
behind the nasal cavity, within the forehead, and at the back & in between the
eyes. Sinuses grow in pairs and there are four pairs of them. Sinuses begin to
develop in the mother womb and grow till twenty years of age. As children have
an incompletely developed immune system, they catch cold infection more

The actual purposes of the sinuses are not known, but scientists say that they
make the head lightweight as these air pockets are filled with light air. If
these air pockets were to be replaced with something solid, the head will
become heavier. The sinuses also provide tone and depth to the voice. That is
the reason why the voice sounds funny when a person catches a cold or gets a
sinus attack. The sinuses are covered with a thin and moist tissue layer known
as a mucous membrane. These membranes are responsible for adding moisture to
the air breathed in. They also produce mucus, a sticky liquid filled in the
nose, also called snot. This sticky liquid catches germs and dust, which are
carried by the air, before they enter the body. The mucus membranes are covered
with cilia or microscopic hair. These cilia move to and fro to encourage the
flow of the mucus out of the nose and back inside. When the sinuses are
infected, the membranes produce more mucus and become swollen and irritated.

When a person catches cold, the virus harms the cilia and the mucus doesn't get
swept back in. This is how a runny nose is developed. The mucus lining swells
within the nose. This narrows or completely blocks the minute opening of the
sinus into nose. Because of this, the stickier and thicker mucus produced get
trapped in the sinuses. This stagnant mucus becomes the breeding ground for
virus, bacteria and fungi. If the common cold stretches for over two weeks, the
sinusitis condition develops. This condition is sinus infection. Acute sinusitis
is sinusitis stretching over two weeks or so. But when it crosses three months,
it is called chronic sinusitis. The child can get mild fever along with acute
sinusitis. There is no fever associated with chronic sinusitis and the symptoms
are less intense. The symptoms of sinusitis or sinus attacks are mild fever, bad
breath, continuous nasal discharge, puffy eyes, and daytime cough. Some children
also experience low energy, crankiness, headache and pain behind the forehead,
cheeks and eyes.

When the doctor is approached for help, he/she will check throat, nose and ears
for infection. The sinuses are also checked. The doctor will press or tap on the
cheeks and forehead. If bacteria are responsible for causing the infection, the
child will be given antibiotics to kill the bacteria. The antibiotics will show
their effect within few days itself. A nasal spray or decongestant can also be
used to treat blocked and runny nose. If it is chronic sinusitis, the
antibiotics need to be taken for a longer time period, like for about a few
weeks, in order to kill the bacteria completely. The child shouldn't stop the
course of medicine if he/she isn't seeing any improvement in the condition. The
doctor should be contacted for further instructions. In this case, a surgery is
an alternative. The doctor will ask the child to get a CT scan of the sinuses.

The best thing about sinusitis is that it isn't contagious. So if a kid is
infected with it, he/she can still go to school and have fun with the rest of
the kids. But kids who have sinus problem should stay away from environmental
pollutants and allergies, which can trigger the condition again in them.

Frequent Headaches and Migraine in Children

Children who get frequent headaches and migraine attacks have chronic illness.
Such children and their parents face problem to adjust with school and their
rules. Extra preparations and steps should be taken to cope with such illness.
Pediatric specialist in migraine and headaches exist should be consulted for
treatment and other precautionary & preventive measures. Also the triggers vary
from child to child, which should be recognized accurately.

Firstly, it is the strict attendance rule in most of the schools that children
with chronic illness find it difficult to deal with. To add to it, majority of
the schools have zero tolerance policy regarding medications, even including
over the counter medicines. Reports of students getting expelled for merely
carrying Advil in school with them are common. Prior to making appointment with
the doctor, it is recommended that parents read the policy of the school the
child is attending. It is good to ask questions before hand, than feeling sorry
later. Some of the schools asks for letter or medical record as a proof, incase
the student didn't attend because of a health problem. Some schools consider
sick leaves as regular leaves and in this case, the attendance gets affected

School nurses can be given the prescribed medicine so that they can give the
medicine to the child at the required time. If this is the case, things such as
medicine storage location and availability of substitute should be checked.
Apart from not attending regularly, the child can sometimes be unable to take
part in co-curricular activities especially physical education and outdoor
recess. Other possible options should be discussed with the teacher. Usually a
recommendation letter from the physician will do the needed. In all the cases,
some kind of medical identification can be carried by the child at all times.
If the child is attending an after school babysitter or program, directly after
school, extra measures should be taken. The babysitter or program in charge
should be told about the problem in advance. Their cooperation can be asked for
timely administration of the medicine and for taking special care of the child.
If the child himself is grown enough to understand the matter, the child should
be educated about taking medications. They should also be made to understand
that it is harmful to take medicines from any un-trustable source even if their
fellow students do. Budge them to ask questions and clarify any of their fears
of concerns.

Most of the children lack the ability to convey their problem properly. The
situation is further aggravated because of different kinds of headaches. They
can be related to chronic illness, tension, sinus or fever. Only diagnosis can
bring out the correct problem. If the rate of headache becomes more frequent,
like more than twice a month, doctor's appointment should be taken instantly.
Younger kids find it more difficult to explain the problem. If they become
cranky, restless, irritating, tired, is having sleeping disorders and is not
eating properly, a problem surely exists. Most of the children complain of
headaches during exams because of increased stress. Seventy five percent of the
children experience headaches because of tension. If so, stress management
education, along with counseling, should be given to the kid.

Headaches can be an indication of other problems, too. So, thorough diagnosis
is highly recommended. The child's previous medical history provides important
clue. Prior to the doctor's appointment, notes can be made after referring the
medical history. Maintaining a log about the child's headache frequencies, pain
location, time of occurrence, symptoms, etc. also helps. If not due to illness,
headaches can also be a result of head injury. Sometimes, headache can be
hereditary, like in the case of migraines.

Headaches can also be caused because of infections, vision problems, odd levels
of blood pressure, neurological problems, muscle weakness, improper ear balance
or serious problems such as tumor, blood clots, etc. If the doctor is not able
to diagnose the problem, he/she can refer the child to a headache specialist or
neurologist. Test such as CT scan or MRI are done if there is a serious problem.
After the diagnosis, the doctor prescribes medication or will ask to take over
the counter medicines. According to a study, children who face headaches and
migraine take overdose of over the counter medicines for immediate pain
reliving. In some of the cases, the parents are clueless about this situation.
This practice is risky and mostly children above six years are involved in such

Appendicitis in Kids

Many children have their appendix removed even before turning the age of
fourteen. And the risk starts to peak as they age. Majority of children who get
an abdominal surgery is because of appendicitis. Appendicitis is actually
appendix inflammation and as a result, a fingerlike tube grows on the lower
right part of large intestine. Appendix is located at the closed end of the
larger intestine, known as the cecum, and measures up to many inches. Although,
doctors say that the appendix isn't of much help to the body, but appendix's
inner wall releases antibodies, which are produced by the lymphatic tissues.

Appendicitis can be detected by the onset of pain in the middle portion of the
abdomen, the portion above the belly button. After a few hours the area will
swell and there will be intense pain when touching the abdomen's right side.
The patient will begin to vomit and will have nausea. There will low fever and
there will be problems will gas and stool passage. Some people, after the onset
of these symptoms, will take laxatives or enemas mistaking appendicitis for
constipation. But this is extremely dangerous, as these medicines will in turn
increase the risk of the appendix bursting. So it is recommended to consult the
doctor before going for any kind of medication, even any pain relievers. Besides
increasing the risk, they even mask the symptoms and makes diagnosis even more
hard. If the child's symptoms are very much similar to that of the
appendicitis' symptoms, he should be immediately taken to the doctor for
further diagnosis. The doctor will first study the child's digestive illnesses'
history. He should also be divulged information about the symptoms, timing,
bowel movements and its frequency. The stool should also be checked for mucus
or blood. Children, who can communicate, can be asked to point out the location
of pain in the abdomen. Toddlers who haven't started talking or who hesitate to
do talk will raise their knees close to the chest, hips will be flexed and the
abdomen becomes tender.

Although, the actual cause of this abnormal growth of the appendix is not
known, but it can result because of some kind of obstruction or infection in
the intestines. The obstruction can be created due to thick mucus build-up
inside the appendix. Some part of the stool can also enter inside. There will
be mucus formation and the stool will harden within resulting in the swelling
up of the appendix. If it is an infection, it should be treated immediately, as
it can burst and there is a danger of the infection spreading to other parts of
the body via bloodstream. That is the reason why even blood test is done, so as
to determine whether the infection has spread or not. The urine test is done to
check for problems in the urinary tract. The problem is then confirmed with the
help of computed tomography or an ultrasound. Sometimes children with pneumonia
have the similar symptoms, so to make matters clear even X-ray of the chest is
done. Medical attention must be sought within forty eight hours of the start of
the abdominal pain. Sometimes, abdomen develops mild inflammation, many weeks
before the diagnosis is done.

After the diagnosis is done and appendicitis is determined, appendectomy is
performed on the patient. The doctor will immediately order the intake of
antibiotics before the surgery is performed. In case of confined appendicitis,
it can be treated solely by antibiotics and no surgery is required. This is
because the inflammation is very mild and the body itself fights with the
infection. But, still as a precautionary measure, such kinds of patients must
be kept in observation until their condition becomes stabilized. If the
appendix ruptured then appendicle perforation is done. In this procedure, a
drain is inserted inside the skin, through the abscess with the help of CT scan
or ultrasound which gives the exact location. Some people develop complications
later such as wound infection and accumulation of puss inside the appendix.

Abdominal Pain in Children

Tummy aches are one of the most frequently complained about problems in
children. There are many causes attributed with it, and it is a challenge for
the parent or the physician to find out the exact problem. Sometimes the pain
requires immediate attention and can also be a case of emergency. The causes
can be related to food, infections, poisoning, insect bites, etc.

Bacteria and viruses are responsible in case of abdominal pain due to
infections. Gastroenteritis and stomach flu are some of the examples of
infections that can cause stomach aches. Gastroenteritis is the inflammation
and irritation of stomach and the gastrointestinal passage. Extra care must be
taken by travelers, as the food and drinks can be contaminated at new locations
and can lead to traveler's getting diarrhea. Stomach pain due to viral
infections ward off quickly, but bacterial infections demand the intake of
antibiotics. In both the cases, some children recover very fast by vomiting and
excreting. In case of diarrhea, excess drinking fluids should be given to the
kid to avoid dehydration.

Food related stomach aches can be caused because of food poisoning, gas
production, excess food ingestion and food allergies. Problems because of food
poisoning are temporary and can cause bloating. Symptoms of food poisoning are
vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and nausea. Usually these symptoms
surface within two days of consumption of contaminated food. Depending on the
severity chill, fever, bloody stools, or damage to the nervous system can
follow. In case of a group of people who consumed the contaminated food, this
situation is known as an outbreak. Over two hundred diseases are known to be
transmitted via food. Food can be poisoned because of toxic agents or infective
agents. Infective agents are parasites, bacteria, and viruses. Toxic agents are
uncooked food, exotic foods, and poisonous mushrooms. Food can get contaminated
because of handling by unclean workers at the local restaurant, too. Parents
should check out the cleanliness and should visit a trusted restaurant.

Particular foods can cause the irritation, such as diary products can cause
lactose intolerance. If this is the case, the child is allergic to certain food
or drinks and swallowing even a small amount can cause vomiting, nausea,
diarrhea, cramping, and skin rash. Since these items are harmless otherwise,
such kind of allergic reactions are known as hypersensitivity reaction.
Sometimes the symptoms can be life threatening and are known as anaphylactic
shock or anaphylaxis.

Poisoning can also be due to overdose of medicines and even due to eating
non-food stuffs. Insect bites such as black widow spider bite can also lead to
pain in the abdomen. It can be accompanied with muscle cramps, weakness,
nausea, tremor, vomiting and in severe case it can cause dizziness, faintness,
respiratory problems, and chest pain. Also, the heart rate and blood pressure

In very rare cases, abdominal pain can be due to appendicitis. This is a result
of blockage and inflammation of tissues. Young kids have a higher rate if
complications are considered and should be immediately rushed to the hospital.
The pain starts slowly in the abdomen, specifically near the belly button. The
pain shifts slowly to the right side of the lower abdomen within a time period
of over twenty four hours. Clear symptoms are abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea,
fever and loss of appetite. Diabetes can also be a reason of abdominal pain.
Small children usually curl up, cry and express pain through facial expression.
Some kids will be reluctant to talk, but the parent should try to get clear
explanation of the problem. Along with close monitoring of the symptoms,
studying the location of pain, pain duration, nature of vomiting, and urinary
problems will help. After that a pediatric should be consulted who can further
refer to a gastroenterologist. Until help is reached, the child should be made
to relax. Often, lying with face in downward direction can relieve pain due to
gas. Incase of vomiting and diarrhea, fluids should be given constantly. Solid
food should only be given when the child is comfortable about eating it.

Pinworms in Children

Pinworms develop as a result of unhygienic habit of not washing hands before
having food. They are small worms who resemble to small thread pieces and cause
itching in the anus area. Pinworms infect humans only and reside in the
intestines. Every school going kid encounters this problem at one time or the
other. They can touch another kid infected with pinworm or an object having the
eggs of the pinworm.

The eggs of the pinworm's eggs get on the fingernails and that why it is a good
idea to wash the hands regularly. If the food is eaten without washing hands,
these eggs go inside the body, by the digestive system. In the small intestine,
the eggs hatch and the pinworms move towards the large intestine. There, they
cling onto the walls of the intestine and stay there for few weeks to mature.
After that the female pinworms go towards large intestine's end to lay eggs
near the anus region. Usually the eggs are laid at night and that is the time
when the area itches. It takes one to two months time period after the
consumption of the eggs, for the maturing of the pinworms who lay new eggs. The
eggs get hatched on the anus's skin and the baby pinworms will crawl inside the
body in order to grow.

Pinworms eggs are found anywhere like on the kitchen counter, school desk or
bed. They are also found on utensils, clothes and towels. When outside the
human body, the eggs can live up to two weeks. Within that time period when
they are touched, there is a chance to enter the human body and flourish.
Pinworms are contagious and can spread from one human to another. Also they can
spread by air as the eggs are lightweight and the wind can blow them and they
can be breathed in or swallowed by anyone. The child can intake more eggs when
he scratches his bottom and doesn't wash his/her hands immediately.

Children infected with pinworms can see worms in their stool after they pass
and even on the underwear. The worms look like small white threads. But the
eggs aren't visible to the naked eyes. If the child observes these symptoms
he/she should inform the adults about the condition. The itching caused by
pinworms can be so bad that it can wake the child in the middle of the night
and make him/her squirm. The doctors usually prescribe some medicine to kill
the pinworms. The doctors also take samples from underneath the fingernail and
the anus to check for eggs. The medicine will take about two weeks to get rid
of the worms completely. If the itching is very irritating and wakes the child
in the middle of the night, a cream is prescribed by the doctor. Sometimes
other members of the house will also be asked to take the same medicine as a
precautionary measure. The parents should wash all the clothes, towels and
sheets used by the pinworm infected child.

The best way to deal with pinworms is taking precautionary steps in the first
place. The child must cultivate a habit of washing hands before eating food,
after using the bathroom and after playing outdoors. The fingernails should
also be clipped regularly to not to allow eggs depositing there. The eggs also
hang onto clothes, so it is a good habit to change underwear daily. And other
clothes should be washed after every few days.

Chicken Pox in Children

A typical childhood disease in children chicken pox is very notorious for being
contagious. A kid infected with chickenpox virus will develop numerous itchy
blisters which are filled with fluid. These blisters burst later, which lead to
crusts formation. Children get approximately five hundred such blisters which
grow over a red skin spot. They show up on the face first and then spread to
the trunk, scalp and the rest of the body. After a day of appearance, the fluid
filled blisters become cloudy and later on, scabby.

The itchiness caused due to chicken pox is really intense and irritating. And
the crust, if not treated, can leave marks for life. Within forty eight hours
of getting infected, the symptoms begin to surface. It is only after ten to
twenty days after contamination, that the pox appears. Symptoms include fever,
abdominal pain, headache, loss of appetite and finally the pox rash. The
condition can be confirmed by testing the pox blisters and by even taking blood
test. The medical history of the child can be helpful in determining the
severity of the condition.

The virus blameworthy for infecting a person with chicken pox is
varicella-zoster or simply, varicella. The virus spreads through airborne
transmission, droplet transmission and direct contact. Not only the infected
carry these viruses and should be avoided, also people or kids who have taken
the vaccination recently should also be avoided. Since the invention of chicken
pox vaccine, there has been a decline in the chicken pox cases. Children who are
under the age of ten should be highly prepared as they are more prone to getting
infected by this virus. But on the contrary, when older children or adults catch
chicken pox, they become sicker when compared to young kids.

A child or a person who has been infected by chicken pox virus becomes host to
the virus for lifetime. But the number is kept under control by the body's
immune system. Infants, sometimes, get partial immunity from the blood of their
mother, if the mother was already infected by chicken pox. Kids of mothers, who
haven't been infected by chicken pox, tend to get severe chickenpox. Children
who have been administered with chicken pox vaccination get mild chicken pox.
Skin condition of children with skin problems like eczema or sunburn can
worsen. Such kids can be getting above one thousand and five hundred poxes.
Children who have taken steroids can also face bad situation.

Along with the application of the prescribed lotion and intake of oral
medication containing antihistamine, the itchiness can be eased by bathing the
child in lukewarm water and oatmeal. The antiviral medications should be
started within the first day itself. Other people living in the same household
as of the patient should also take antiviral medicines recommended by a doctor.
It is a must for everyone to take chicken pox vaccination as a part of
immunization routine schedule. There is a hundred percent chance of not
developing moderate to severe chickenpox and nearly ninety percent chance of
not developing mild chicken pox. Chicken pox vaccine is the only vaccine which
doesn't demand a booster. But a higher dose can be given to adolescents so as
to avoid shingles or herpes zoster. But a doctor should be consulted before
opting for the higher dose.

Food Allergies in Kids

Food allergies are a common problem in kids. Nearly two million children have
food allergies in the United States. Some food allergies are life threatening,
even if the food is taken in very little quantity. Peanut tops the list of
notorious foods which cause allergies. Following it are milk, especially cow's
milk, soy, eggs, wheat, seafood and other nuts.

Food allergies are caused when the immune system is confused. The job of the
immune system is to protect the body from diseases, bacteria, viruses and
germs. The antibodies produced by the immune system helps to fight these minute
external organisms which makes the person sick. But if the body is allergic to
certain food, the immune system mistakes the food to a harmful foreign
substance and takes action towards it thinking that it is dangerous to the
body. The body acts adversely, when it isn't supposed to do so.

When the immune system detects allergic substance, the antibodies produce mast
cells. They are a kind of immune system cell which release a chemicals, such as
histamine, in the bloodstream. These chemicals affect the respiratory system,
digestive system, nose, eyes, throat, and skin. Initial symptoms are runny
nose, tingling sensation in the lips or tongue, and itchy skin rash like hives.
The reaction can be mild to severe and depends on every individual. The symptoms
can appear right after the food is consumed or after few hours. Other symptoms
are cough, wheezing, nausea, hoarse voice, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach ache,
and throat tightness.

A sudden and harsh allergic reaction is known as anaphylaxis. The patient
encounters many problems, all at once which involve blood vessels, the heart,
digestion, breathing, and skin. The blood pressure drops very steeply, the
tongue swells and there is swelling in the breathing tubes. Patients who have
such allergic reactions should be ready to handle emergencies. They should
always carry some type of medicine which will help to combat or reduce the
adverse affect of the food.

Most of the times, it is very easy to detect the cause of food allergy.
Problems such as hives begin to surface as soon as the child eats the substance
he is allergic to. At other times, it becomes very difficult to determine the
cause of allergy. In such cases, everything should be observed under close
surveillance. Food items which are made out of many ingredients should be
thoroughly checked for the allergic cause. Most of the times, allergies are
inherited from other family members or other kids born with food allergies.
Changes in the surroundings and the body play a major role in these kinds of
cases. Some of the kids aren't actually allergic to the food and show only mild
reaction. Like people who are lactose intolerant suffer from diarrhea and belly
pain after consuming milk and diary products. This is not an indication that
the child is allergic to milk. This reaction happens because their body is
incapable of breaking down the sugars which are found in diary products and

If the conditions are severe, a doctor should be consulted immediately. If food
allergy is diagnosed, the doctor refers to an allergy specialist. The doctor
asks questions like eating patterns, past allergic reactions and the time
period between the consumption of food and the surfacing of the symptoms. The
specialist can also ask about allergy related conditions like asthma or eczema
and whether allergic reactions are hereditary. Usually skin test and blood test
is done to test the antibodies and the reaction they have on the skin when it is
exposed to the allergic substance.

Kids who are allergic to egg and milk outgrow them as the age progresses. But
allergies which are severe and are related to items such as peanut, shrimps,
and some kind of fish, last for a lifetime. Other than food, children can be
allergic to certain medicines and flower pollen. The best way to avoid
allergies is to avoid the cause of it. No specific medicine has been developed
for the cure of allergies.

Swimmer's Ear in Children

Swimmer's ear is bacterial growth infection inside the canal of the ear. It is
also known as Otitis Externa. It differs a lot from ear infections which are
dealt with on a regular basis, which is contracted at times when the child
catches a cold. The common ear infection is known as Otitis Media, in which the
middle of the ear is infected. Incase of swimmer's ear, the ear canal which
leads towards the ear drum is infected by bacteria. The first symptom is that
when the finger is stuck inside the ear canal, it will hurt a lot. In normal
cases, it won't hurt at all.

The skin within that are is very delicate and hence, is protected by nature by
a thin earwax coating. Usually, water can easily glide inside and then outside
the ear without any problem. But when the water cleans some or all of the
earwax and if some of the water is retained inside, the bacteria will take
advantage of this situation. Chemicals in the water aggravate the situation by
increasing the irritation. It starts growing within the soft and warm ear canal
and can cause swelling and redness. A slight itchiness also accompanies it. But
the child must be instructed to not to scratch, otherwise there is a greater
chance of the situation becoming worse. If there is no itchiness, obviously
there will be pain, which is the initial symptom. The ear should not be bumped
or touched even from the exterior, as that will cause intense pain. Hearing can
become difficult due to the bacterial infection as that will swell the ear canal
and block the passage.

The pain and itchiness can only be gotten rid off by fighting the infection and
killing the grown bacteria. In usual cases, ear drops are prescribed by the
doctor. These ear drops have antibiotics which are meant to kill the bacteria.
The dosage and number of days to use the ear drops as told by the doctor should
be strictly followed. If the doses are missed there is a possibility of
bacterial re-growth. A wick is also introduced inside the ear, sometimes. This
wick actually is small piece of sponge with absorbed lotion. The wick is left
inside then. This procedure is used when the doctor thinks it is important to
apply medicine directly to the part of the ear canal which is infected. If the
pain is unbearable by the child, parents can give pain killers, but only after
taking suggestion from the doctor. Once the antibiotics begin working, pain
killers can be stopped.

Swimmer's ear cannot be just attained cause of water entering the ear at the
time of taking baths or showers. Children, who have joined the summer swimming
camp, can complain of this problem. After the swimmer's ear is treated, the
child shouldn't swim immediately. Doctor, usually, advices them to stay away
from water for a week or two. The time period may sound very long, but it keeps
the pain away for a long time. Special ear drops are available over the counter
which can be put inside the child's ear after swimming is over. This will dry
up any water inside the ear, if any. Swimmer's ear can also be caused when
inquisitive kids try to stuff things inside the ear and thus damaging it.
Bacteria get a chance of developing on the scratched area. In this case, only
parent's supervision will do the trick.

Urinary Tract Infection in Children

Urinary tract infection makes urinating painful. The infected children thinks
twice before going to the bathroom and they always get a feeling to go to the
bathroom. The urine also smells bad because of the infection. Bacteria are
responsible for infecting the urinary track.

The urinary track consists of certain parts such as two kidneys, bladder, two
ureters and a urethra. The kidney does the major job of cleaning waste from the
blood. The waste material is urine which is passed to the bladder through the
ureters. The shape of the bladder is very similar to a deflated balloon. When
the bladder gets filled two hundred and thirty seven milliliters of urine, the
brain sends signals to go to the bathroom. When the person gets ready to pass,
the muscles located at the end of the bladder relax which lets the urine rush
through the urethra, from the bladder, and out of the body.

When children face any of the symptoms of urinary track information, they
should talk about it to their parents as the symptoms are visible to the
patient more than to others. Parents can observe the urinating frequency of the
children. The child feels terrible pain while peeing. He/she is able to pass
only small quantity at a time. He/she also gets up several times during the
night to go to the bathroom. There is a strange sensation in the lower part of
the belly. Blood can also pass along with the urine. Also the urine isn't a
clear solution and is cloudy. The urine smells badly after passing. These are
all the symptoms of bladder infection. The child can also feel feverish along
with chills. Pain can be experienced in the back or the belly. When the pain is
right below the ribs, it is a clear sign of kidney infection. Depending on the
severity of the symptoms, the child should be taken to the doctor.

The doctor will take urine sample for testing. The urine is taken in a plastic
cup, into which the child pees. Before passing, the child must wipe the area
with special wipes, so that the germs from the body do not confuse with the
germs in the urine. Germs in the urine are an indication of infection. Although
there are million of germs residing on the exterior of the body, they are
completely harmless. Only a few of them actually infect the body. A stick is
dipped in the urine sample. The stick is special, that is it is a specially
treated paper which changes color upon determination of an infection.
Otherwise, the urine sample can also be sent to the laboratory. Incase of a
bladder infection, the doctor will prescribe medicine that kills the bacteria.

The child will begin to feel good just few days after starting to consume the
medicine. But he/she must stay away from food and liquid which has caffeine in
it as it can elevate the bladder irritation and the patient will feel very
uncomfortable. After the test, if kidney infection is detected, the child will
be hospitalized for few days. He/she will be given a germ fighting medicine
which will be administered by a small plastic tube which will be introduced in
a vein.

After the child recovers from a urinary tract infection, he/she should try best
to avoid such incidents in the future. The most important thing is to maintain
cleanliness. The private parts should be washed everyday. It is best to take a
shower or a bath daily. The child can use wipes to clean every time after
passing urine. Children should never hold the urine. When they feel the urge,
they should rush to the bathroom immediately. Fluids intake must be increased.
Best fluids are water and cranberry juice. Water washes the bacteria out of the
body and cranberry juice prevents another bacterial attack. Bubble baths aren't
good as it can irritate the urethra. Cotton underwear will absorb the sweat and
body moisture, which will prevent bacterial growth. Underpants must be changed

Constipation in Children

Constipation is a condition of improper bowel movement. Usually the child
experiences pain and has a hard time passing dry and hard stool. In normal
condition there is no pain while passing the stool and it has a soft texture.
The bowel movement is also regular. A child having constipation not only finds
it difficult to pass stool, but at times will feel the urge to pass and when he
goes to the toilet, he cannot relive himself.

The digestive system is responsible from the intake of the food to the smooth
passage of waste. The food or fluids are consumed from the mouth, which heads
towards the stomach via the food pipe. After the stomach treats the food with
acid, it passes on to the small intestines and then to the large intestines,
also known as bowels. The final stage of food digestion is the outlet through
of the waste through the anus and rectum. During the whole processing, the body
parts absorb nutrients and water from the food supplied to them. The left over
matter comes out as waste.

It is a myth among some people who say that an individual is constipated if he
or she doesn't pass stool on a daily basis. But the truth is that the bathroom
habit differs from one individual to other. So if constipation is to be checked
the regular pattern of bathroom habit of that particular individual must be
checked and the comparisons must not be made with the other.

Other than not passing stool regularly, the child feels full most of the times
and is a little uncomfortable. The belly can also feel stretched because of the
full feeling. The child makes great effort to pass and the experience is very
painful. Even after passing, the child may feel the urge of passing more
stools. Because of the hard stool, it cause small tears in the anus skin and
there will be little blood on the toilet paper. The child should immediately
tell this to his parents, who can take care of the situation immediately. Some
kids who have a worse condition will pass watery stool, something similar to
diarrhea, and mucus along with the hard stool.

Constipation is becoming more and more widespread because of the unhealthy diet
pattern followed by most of us today. With the trend of fast food, other fatty,
starchy and sugary foods, children aren't getting the required amount of fiber,
which in turn slows down the bowels. It is the responsibility of the parents to
make their children eat fiber enriched foods such as vegetables, fruits, and
whole grains. Along with eating food rich with fiber, it is also a must to
drink enough fluids. Water is the best fluid for this condition. Fluids help to
soften the stool and allow smooth passage within the intestine. Insufficient
intake of fluids makes the stool dry and hard. Children are becoming more
stagnant because of video games, internet and television, which are leaving
them with little or no time for physical exercise. Exercise helps the food to
move through the digestive system. Lesser active play time and physical
activity is also a major cause of constipation. Medicines should be avoided and
should be taken only when doctor recommends them.

Stress and anxiety can play havoc over the digestive system. School going kids
are usually stressed out because of the homework, assignments, and exams. An
adult can talk the kid out of the stress. Children, who have the irritable
bowel syndrome or IBS, worsen their condition because of stress. Spicy and
fatty foods can also act as triggers, along with the stress. Kids having this
syndrome might even experience gas and belly pain. Sometimes children avoid
going to the bathroom when they feel the need for. Usually unclean restrooms
keep children away. But when the nature's call is neglected, it becomes harder
to go at a later time. In very rare cases, medical conditions such as lupus,
diabetes and thyroid gland malfunctioning can also lead to constipation.

Eczema in Children

When a skin rash cannot be blamed on poison ivy or chicken pox, the culprit is
eczema. In this condition, the skin turns red, scaly and develops sores. The
itching is beyond the limit and the skins starts to shed in the form of scales.
Dermatitis is the other name for eczema. Dermatitis actually means inflammation
of the skin and the skin turns pink and sore. Eczema is a common child problem
as out of ten kids at least one kid gets eczema and majority of them get it
before they turn five years old. Children who are above five years are also at
a risk of developing eczema, but once they become teenagers, the chances are

Not only does eczema dries the skin, it also makes it itch horribly. The skin
break out can even take the form of rashes. Eczema is a condition which comes
and goes frequently and therefore it is chronic. When any foreign bodies come
in contact with the skin, a special kind of cells present in the skin will
react to them. Basically, they inflame the skin as a measure of protection. The
harmful foreign objects trigger the reaction and make these special cells to
over react. This turns the skin itchy, sore and red. Children, who get eczema
frequently, have a larger quantity of these special cells.

Usually, people who have family members with asthma, hay fever or any allergies
are more prone to getting eczema. It is in their genes to get eczema and this
problem is passed over to them by their parent. Some scientists say that
people, who as children have had eczema, are at a higher risk of developing
asthma or hay fever later in their life. Allergies can only make eczema worse.
The good news is that eczema is not contagious, so children can be happy about
not catching the infection. The first symptom of eczema is rash development.
These rashes may seem to go away in the beginning, but will return back.
Although eczema itches badly, not all rashes will itch. Eczema will start to
develop behind the knees and inside of the elbows. It will slowly spread to the
face and other body parts.

Because rashes can be caused due to many other reasons apart from eczema, the
doctor will examine the rashes and its cause very carefully. If eczema is
confirmed, the child may have to use a moisturizing cream or lotion to stop the
itchiness and drying of the skin. In serious cases, the patient will be
recommended corticosteroids. It is a steroid cream or ointment which needs to
applied to check skin inflammation. If the itching is really irritating,
antihistamine can be taken in either liquid or pill form. And if the scratching
had resulted in an infection, antibiotics will also be prescribed. The problem
doesn't get solved forever, but it makes the condition better for the time

There are certain things which trigger eczema and should be avoided by children
who get eczema frequently. Perfumes, detergents, soap, dry air in winters with
very little moisture, and sweaty and hot skin. Also when coming in contact with
dust mites and scratchy fabrics can increase skin irritation. The child must
abstain from scratching even if the skin is itching badly, as that will make
the skin itch more badly. The skin can also get infected with bacteria because
of skin breaking and bleeding. A washcloth can be dipped on cool water and
placed on the area of itchiness. The parents should cut the nails short of the
child so that he/she doesn't hurt himself while scratching. Lastly, lots of
water should be consumed to provide moisture to the dry skin.

Corn, Calluses and Blisters in Children

Almost every kid and teenager faces corns, calluses and blisters problem. They
cause extreme discomfort, but at the same time, they are easily preventable.
The major cause for all of them is friction between the skin and foreign

Dancers experience corns. They are painful bumps on the toes. Area affected
with corn becomes hard and the skin becomes thick. The skin surrounding it
becomes yellow and it appears like a soft ring encircling it. Skin in the
center is gray. They develop on the toes mostly and appear because of tight
shoes, which apply lots of pressure on the toe region. The rubbing of the shoes
elevates the problem. In this case, a more comfortable pair of shoes should be
opted. Corns take longer time to go away. A doughnut shaped pad can be worn in
the shoe to avoid friction. Pads with salicylic acid are also highly suggested.
If the corn is hurting badly, a podiatrist should be consulted.

Many people complain of callus after shoveling or raking leaves. The symptoms
are that the affected area develops hard skin and are similar to that of corn.
Repeated application of pressure will thicken the hardened skin which has a
yellow or grayish color. In some sense, it actually acts as a protection layer.
Gymnasts and guitarist often are victims of callus. Gymnasts develop them when
working with uneven parallel bars and guitarists develop them when playing with
the strings continuously. But once they are formed, calluses make their task
easier. Gymnasts can swing on bars more easily and guitarists can play the
guitar well.

Callus when formed on the foot, especially on the sole, can be very painful
every time it is stepped on. They form on the ball or the curvy part of the
sole, which follows the toes. Sometimes they can also form the heel or on small
toes. To avoid callus, it is advised to avoid tight fitting shoes and shoes with
high heels. Both of them put a lot of pressure and stress on certain points. The
callus can be soaked in lukewarm water and then it should be rubbed with a
pumice stone. This will remove the dead skin.

Blisters are usually caused when new pair of shoes has been worn, in general
terms, they are caused by pressure and rubbing. Also they are formed more
easily when compared to calluses. The skin is popped up with some watery fluid
inside it and can appear anywhere on the hand or the feet. The best way to
avoid them is to wear protecting gear such as gloves when doing heavy duty
work, like while shoveling or even when driving a cycle or a bike. If the
blisters aren't taken care of in the initial stages, they grow further to form
calluses. This can happen when the same pair of shoes is worn everyday, which
caused the blister in the first place. Blisters heal by themselves over a
period of time. They should be cleaned regularly and kept clean & covered with
a bandage.

In case of corn, calluses and blisters, the best approach is prevention when
compared to cure. Firstly, protective gear, like work gloves or grips, should
be worn when doing strenuous jobs. Tight-fitting shoes should not be worn to
avoid corn and calluses. Researchers say that the feet are of the maximum size
in afternoon. So it is advisable to shop for shoes in the afternoon. Also a
trial should be done before deciding on the final pair. A particular pair of
shoes shouldn't be worn on a regular basis. Shoe pads can be worn to avoid the

Children's Health Issues: Abrasions, Cuts and Scratches

Sometimes abrasions, cuts and scratches result in dire consequences if they
aren't taken care of at the right time. Children run around the house and drop
vases and other glass material, which can result in scratches or cuts. Outdoor
activities should be supervised carefully, otherwise abrasions caused by a wall
or a rock is unavoidable. There are slight differences among the three and most
of the time children get them while playing.

Cuts are caused by sharp objects, which can penetrate into the skin or damage
the skin on the surface. Scratches are mild form of cuts. They are also caused
by sharp objects such as a piece of glass, thorn or a knife. Even fingernails
can cause a scar. Abrasion is caused by friction or rubbing of the skin with a
rough surface. Rug burns and board burns are also examples of abrasion, because
they are caused by friction.

Also, in all three cases, the wound can bleed. It bleeds when the tiny blood
vessels located underneath the skin gets ruptured. Platelets form clot to stop
the bleeding and a scab can also form, which should be pulled out as that will
interfere with the healing process of the body. If the bleeding isn't stopping,
the wound should be covered with a soft cloth. After that the wound should be
cleaned using lukewarm water and mild soap. Antibacterial ointment should be
used to clean the wound and it should be covered with a bandage. The
antibacterial ointment helps kill germs. The bandage will prevent bacteria from
getting within and prevent the wound from getting bothersome. But the bandage
should be changed everyday and the wound should be kept dry.

The good thing is that abrasion, cuts and scratches don't require any special
attention in most cases. But if the scratch is made by animal claws or abrasion
is caused by a rusty metallic surface, a doctor should be approached
immediately, because the animal could have rabies and the rust can cause
septic. Depending on the situation, the doctor would prescribe antibiotics,
lotion or even shots. It is also a good idea that parents make sure that their
kid is given tetanus shot on a regular basis. Sometimes, the wound won't be
caused in dangerous circumstances, but because of negligence, the wound will
get infected by bacteria. If it the wound is infected, it will show symptoms
such as redness, swollen skin, and production of puss which can be of the color
yellow or either green.

Cuts can sometimes be too deep and even long. In such cases, stitches should be
certainly opted for. It is a very simple procedure. The area of the wound is
made numb using some kind of anesthesia. It can either be injected or simply
applied directly. Then the doctor will sew the cut edges together using certain
needle and thread. If the cut isn't big enough, the cut is sealed using a
special kind of glue, instead of the stitches. The glue will hold the edges
together so that the skin underneath will heal and over a period of time, the
glue will dissolve. Kids need to check with the doctor every week, so that the
doctor will be able to analyze the improvement. And when the wound is
completely healed, the stitches are cut open using scissors and then the
threads are pulled off gently. In majority of the cases, the wound doesn't
leave behind a scar. This totally depends on the method and effectiveness of
the treatment.

Pains during Growth in Children

Growing pain is part and parcel of the growing phase in a child's life. When
the child stops growing so will the growing pain and when adolescence is
reached, they disappear completely. Growing pain can occur between three to
five years or eight to twelve years of age. Growing pains are usually
experienced in the legs usually in the calves, in the area in front of thighs
and behind the knees. The pain starts either in the afternoon or night, just
before bedtime. The child can go to bed pain free, but can wake up in the
middle of the night complaining of throbbing pain in the legs. But the good
part is that these pains vanish by morning. About twenty five to forty percent
of the children are known to experience growing pain.

Growing pains are experienced in the muscle region and not around the bones or
joints. One of the major reasons of getting growing pains is because of the
strenuous activities of the kids during the day. All the jumping around,
running and climbing make the muscles tired. But no evidence has been collected
which can prove that the growing pain is caused by bone growth. Growing pains
are also known to be caused by spurt of growth. This happens because the
tendons or the muscles are too tight and do not synchronize with the growing of
the bones. As a results muscle spasms are caused which last for less than
fifteen minutes. The child usually gets pain in both the legs and not just one.
And usually, growing pains do not get accompanied with redness, swelling or
fever. The pain should be over by morning and if it is still persisting after
the awakening of the kid, the problem could be related to something else and
more serious.

If the pain is unbearable, the parent or caretaker should administer pain
relieving medications which are available over the counter such as ibuprofen or
acetaminophen. Aspirin should not be given to children as they have a tendency
to develop a very serious illness known as Reye Syndrome. Heating pads can be
placed on the region that is hurting to ease the pain. Massage can also be
given by the parent or the child can do stretching exercise to help the muscles
relax. If the child develops fever, redness, swelling, tenderness, limitation in
movement, or if the child limps while walking, the doctor should be approached.
Before that the parent can do a little diagnosis of the intensity of the pain
by feeling around the area and observing the pain experienced by the child. The
pain shouldn't be so intense that the child is abstained from normal routine
such as walking, running or playing.

The doctor conducts the diagnosis of exclusion to understand the problem.
According to this diagnosis, it is not made until all the conditions are
checked before considering growing pains. The doctor studies the child's
medical history and conducts a physical examination. In some serious cases, the
doctor advices to go for X-ray or blood test before the final decision is made.

Children can prevent the growing pains by doing stretching exercises on a daily
basis. The exercise need not be complex. Even if the pain subsides, the exercise
should be continued so as to keep the tendons and muscles relaxed and to adjust
with the growth spurt. Fluids, when taken in good quantity, decrease the
cramping. For this reason, the child should be given tonic water or quinine
before going to bed.

Conjunctivitis or Pinkeye in Children

Conjunctivitis or pinkeye is a common problem in school going kids. The eyes
become red, itchy, and swollen. There can also be a discharge of gooey liquid
from the eye which can be of the color white, clear, green or yellow.
Conjunctivitis is also known as pinkeye because the eye's white part turns pink
or red. When the child experiences itchiness and redness in the eyes, he/she
should inform the elders as soon as possible, as pinkeye is very contagious and
spreads very easily.

It is possible that only one eye can get affected by conjunctivitis, while the
other eye dose not. In usual cases, both the eyes get infected. Conjunctivitis
doesn't hurt usually, but the eyes sure do itch badly. There can be a sensation
similar to an eyelash or tiny particle getting in the eye, which can be very
annoying. The infection lasts for about a week and usually goes away by itself.
But if the itching is very troublesome, it should be treated with medicine. Some
children can have conjunctivitis accompanied with ear infections, as the
bacteria responsible for causing pinkeye is also responsible for causing ear

Conjunctivitis is caused by virus or bacteria. Viruses which cause conjunctivitis 
are also responsible for cold. Bacteria which cause conjunctivitis also cause ear 
infection. Conjunctivitis spreads by touching. If a person touches the hand of 
the infected person, who has recently touched his eyes, also gets the infection. 
And since infected children deal with their parents and children, they also pose 
the risk of getting the infection. The prevention in this case is to wash hands 
often with warm water and disinfecting soap. Conjunctivitis when caused by 
bacteria & virus, and is contagious is known as infectious conjunctivitis. 
Conjunctivitis can also be caused due to allergies or because of entry of 
irritating foreign body into the eyes. Conjunctivitis caused by this medium is 
not contagious.

A doctor should be approached upon if the itchiness is very irritating. The
doctor will check the eyes for redness and liquid discharge. The doctor would
ask about the encounter with any friend or known person who seemed to have
pinkeye or whether the conjunctivitis was caused because of some allergy or
entry of foreign object into the eye. The doctor can also check the ears for
the possibility of ear infection. If the pinkeye is caused because of bacterial
infection, the doctor will recommend antibiotic eye ointment or drops. Usually
infants are given eye ointment, whereas children and adults are given eye
drops. The parents should put the drops or ointment into the child's eyes four
to five times a day for nearly seven days or so. The dosage and timings should
be maintained to get rid of the infection completely.

If the conjunctivitis is caused due to virus, there is nothing much the
antibiotics can do. And if the pinkeye is caused by allergies or any foreign
object, the doctor can recommend special eye drops to deal with the allergy
symptoms. Warm water can also be splashed on the eyes to ease the itching. A
cool or warm washcloth can be used to clean the discharge. Parents can clean
the eyes carefully with cotton balls and warm water and remove the crusty stuff
which is formed at the ends of the eyes. The towels and washcloths used for
cleaning should head straight to the laundry so that the infection doesn't
spread to other family members.

Fever in Children

The normal temperature of human body is 98.6F. If the temperature is taken
rectally, the thermometer will show a rise of 1F, that is it will show 99.6F.
The normal body temperature can vary slightly among individuals. The doctors
consider the rise in body temperature as fever if it crosses the mark of 99.4F
when taken orally and 100.4F when taken rectally. Rectal checking of
temperature is done in infants and children who are older than four years have
their temperature checked orally. Infants under three months should be rushed
to the hospital if they have fever above 100.5F. The same applies for children
older than three months and having a body temperature above 102F.

Digital thermometers provide a more accurate temperature reading. Mercury
thermometers pose a health risk to the family as it is an environmental toxin.
Hence, this is another good reason why mercury thermometers should be replaced
with digital thermometers. Parents must take few measures before and during the
task of checking the child's temperature. First of all, the parent should be
sure about the kind of thermometer he or she wants to use, that is whether the
thermometer should be meant for oral use or rectal use. The child shouldn't be
bundled up very tightly before the temperature is checked. When the thermometer
is being held by the child, the parent should supervise the whole procedure.
Infants might experience pain when the thermometer is inserted into his rectum.
Therefore, it is a good idea to cover the thermometer's tip with petroleum jelly
before insertion and only half of the thermometer should be inserted inside. The
thermometer should be held until the beep is heard as children tend to drop the
thermometer, if it is left to them. When taking the temperature orally, the
thermometer should be placed underneath the tongue and should be left there
until the beep is heard. After usage, the thermometer should be washed with
cold water and soap.

When an infection is being fought by the body, it shows signs of fever. When
the child becomes fussy and experiences aches in parts of the body, the child
should be administered with some medicines. Medicines are available for
children, depending on their needs, age and weight. The recommended dosage will
be written on the pack or the label of the medicine and the parents should check
that chart before giving any medicine to the child. If there is any kind of
confusion, a doctor should always be consulted. Medicines like Acetaminophen,
Ibuprofen, and Tylenol for children are available over the counter. When
acetaminophen is given along with lukewarm bath, it helps decrease the fever.
The medicine should be given just before the bath. The water shouldn't be cold
and no alcohol products must be used while bathing. If bath is given minus
acetaminophen, the child can begin to shiver and there is chance of body
temperature going high again.

Aspirin is not advisable for children as it may develop serious illness called
Reye's syndrome in the child. The risk is even more in kids having chickenpox
or flu. Not more than five doses should be given in twenty four hours. If drops
are given, the dropper should be filled till the marked line. A liquid medicine
usually comes with a measuring device in the form of a cap. If not, it can be
bought at the local drug store. Infants under four months shouldn't be given
medicine, unless told by the doctor.

Certain symptoms call for immediate attention and the doctor must be contacted
immediately. Symptoms can be dry mouth, rapid change in body temperature,
ear-ache, behavioral changes, frequent diarrhea and vomiting, paleness,
seizures, skin rashes, intense headaches, sore throat, swollen joints,
irritability, high pitch crying, not feeling hungry, stiff neck, stomach ache,
whimpering, wheezing, limpness, and breathing problems. At all times, the child
must be made to wear comfortable cotton cloths which help the body to breath
properly and at the same time absorbs the sweat. The child should also be given
fluids constantly, in order to combat with dehydration.

Ear Infections in Children

Middle ear infection is a very common problem faced by children. Even infants
below two years could face this problem. Infection in the ear is caused by
germs and viruses. They enter the human body and grow to cause infection,
affecting the normal functioning of the body. Similarly, germs can enter the
ears. Depending on the location of infection, the infections are named. The
human ear can be divided into the inner part, middle part and outer part. When
the outer ear is infected by germs, the infection is known as swimmer's ear.
When the inner part of the ear gets infected, it is called middle ear
infection. The germs infect the middle portion of the ear and fill that area
with pus or a yellow gooey liquid. This liquid has cells which fight germs. The
middle part of the ear is shaped in the form of a tiny air pocket. It is located
at the back of the eardrum. And when the pus begins to fill in this area, the
ear feels like a filled balloon which is on the verge of popping. This feeling
is really painful.

The throat is connected to the middle portion of the ear through a channel
known as Eustachian tube and in fact middle portions of both the ears are
connected to the throat by two Eustachian tubes. The job of these tubes is to
allow the free movement of air, from the middle ear, in and out direction.
Infants below three years have less developed and smaller Eustachian tubes and
therefore are less capable of keeping germs completely out of the middle ear.
As the child grows, so do the Eustachian tubes and the more capable they are of
keeping germs outside, but they still face some problem.

Usually kids, who have allergic problems and catch cold very frequently, are
more prone to get ear infections. When the child gets cold, the Eustachian tube
gets obstructed which allow germs to get into the middle ear. And the germs
which gain entry, multiply rapidly resulting in a middle ear infection.

The child gets a fever along with the ear pain. Some even find it difficult to
hear because of the blockage. Middle ear infection is not contagious, but the
cold caught from others can eventually result in an ear infection. The sooner
the doctor is contacted, the better for the child and the rest of the family
members. The doctor will check the ear with the help of an otoscope. It is a
special flashlight which makes the eardrum visible. The eardrum is a thin
membrane separating the outer ear from the middle ear. The otoscope can also be
used to blow a puff of air into the ear. This determines whether the ear drum is
functioning normally and is moving in a healthy way or not. Because of the puss
formation due to the infection, the fluid will press against the ear drum and
may even make it to bulge. Also, the eardrum can turn red because of the

The doctor will prescribe a pain reliever to be taken for the next two days.
Antibiotics will be prescribed if the infection is caused because of bacteria,
which will end the infection within a couple of days. Incase, the doctor
recommends an antibiotic, the cycle must be completed as told by the doctor,
otherwise there can be a possibility of re-infection. Few children who get ear
infections frequently will have to undergo other tests such as tympanogram and

Children can take some steps to avoid ear infection. They must wash their hands
regularly. They must keep away from people who are infected with cold. And if
they do come near or in contact with an infected person, they should wash their
hands and should not touch their eyes or nose. Parents, who smoke, should not do
it near the kid as the tobacco smoke can be responsible for the malfunctioning
of the Eustachian tube.

Warts in Kids

Nearly fifty percent of children acquire warts at some time or the other.
Warts, in the real sense are benign tumors which develop when keratinocytes, a
kind of skin cell, is infected by the wart virus. There are many types of
warts, the most common being rough bumps which appear on fingers and hands.
Others are flat warts, genital warts, plantar warts, and molluscum contagiosum.
The difference is based on the types, location, and painfulness of the wart.
Common warts appear on fingers and hands and usually are painless. Plantar
warts appear on the soles and are sometimes painful. Periungal warts show up
around the finger and toe nail. Warts which appear on the face are flat warts.

The symptoms of the common warts are that the skin develops an irregular
surface and becomes rough. A dome starts to appear after a day after infection.
A popular myth is that warts have roots, but they don't. They grow on the
epidermis, which is the top most layer of the skin. The black portion is
because of broken veins and clotted blood.

Warts come and go at various stages of life like childhood and teenage years.
They usually go away by themselves. But some can be very painful, can spread
quickly and some of them wont go away for many years. Such kind of warts should
definitely be treated. The most common treatment among the pediatricians is
cryotherapy. They will freeze the warts using liquid nitrogen. Cantharidin can
also be applied, which is a painless treatment but can result in painful
blisters at the end of the day. The minus point is that these treatments
sometimes cause blistering and some warts won't come off in one sitting. If the
warts won't still budge they are further treated with strong salicylic acid,
intralesional immune-therapy, bleomycin, or a pulsed dye laser. Aldara can also
be used in worst cases. Because of some treatments the warts grow to the end of
the blister, which results in a bigger wart and some might even result in a

Besides other common wart treatments, the most well-known home remedy is duct
tape. The affected area is covered with duct tape for about six days. If within
that time period, the tape peels off, it should be reapplied. After the sixth
day, the duct tape should be removed and the wart should be soaked in water and
a pumice stone or emery board should be used to scrap the top skin of the wart.
After this, the duct tape should be reapplied again within twenty four hours
and the same procedure should be repeated until the whole wart disappears. This
procedure takes at least two months to get rid of the wart completely. Some kids
hesitate to put duct tape on parts which are visible, like fingers and legs.
They can be encouraged by making them wear colored duct tape, other than grey.
Many home wart freezing and removal kits are also available in the market whose
help can be taken.

Warts spread by direct contact with the wart or any material which the infected
person has used like a used towel which has been contaminated. It is contagious
and hence it is recommended to stay away from it at the very sight of it. All
the cuts, rashes and bites should be cleaned regularly and should be kept
covered. Another measure for prevention is wearing closed shoes in public

Pneumonia in Children

Pneumonia is the infection of the either one lung or both. When both the lungs
get infected it is known as double pneumonia. When the pneumonia is mild enough
that the visit to the doctor can be avoided and the child can carry out daily
activities normally, it is known as walking pneumonia.

The lungs are an important part of the respiratory system. The air which is
breathed in contains oxygen, which is filtered by the lungs. This oxygen then
is carried around the body with the help of blood which is passed from the
breathing tubes by the alveoli. Capillaries or the minute blood vessels are
surrounded by small air sacs known as alveoli. There are over six hundred
million alveoli in the human body. The air which is taken in is supplied to the
alveoli; the oxygen extracted from the air is dissolved in the blood. Then it is
the job of the red blood cells to distribute the oxygen to all the body parts.
Oxygen is vital in the proper functioning of the human body and insufficient
supply of oxygen can damage the organs and sometimes can be life threatening.
This functioning is disturbed when the lungs get infected by pneumonia.

Pneumonia does not allow the lungs to function properly, because the infection
produces fluid which obstructs the alveoli. In turn the oxygen does not
penetrate deep inside the lungs and lesser oxygen is supplied to the blood. The
breathing is affected and the condition worsens when both the lungs get infected
with pneumonia.

People of all ages from infants to old could get affected with pneumonia. It is
a myth among people that getting wet makes the person catch pneumonia. But it is
actually the virus or the bacteria which causes the infection. When a person
infected with flu or cold faces a deterioration in his/her condition, he/she
can be infected with pneumonia. This happens because the irritation caused by
the flu or cold helps the pneumonia germs to get into the lungs easily and move
around to spread the infection.

The virus or bacteria which cause pneumonia can cause damages, whose severity
can depend on the health of the child. If the infection is caused by bacteria,
the child will get sick very soon and can get high temperature fever
accompanied with chills. Pneumonia caused by virus develops very slowly and it
takes longer time to go away. The child can also experiences cough, chest pain,
headache, and or muscle ache. It can also make it difficult to breath, so the
child will start to breath faster which may make him cough out gloppy mucus.
The child would have to totally abstain from eating.

When given the right treatment, the child can recover fully. The doctor will
first examine the heartbeat and breathing with the help of the stethoscope. The
stethoscope also helps to check the lungs, the sounds made by the lungs help to
determine if it contains any fluids. Sounds such as crackling or bubbling are
indications of pneumonia. Chest X-ray will be taken too. White patchy area will
show fluid buildup. By looking at the X-ray, the doctor can also determine
whether the infection is caused by bacteria or virus. If it is caused by
bacteria, antibiotics will be prescribed. And if it is difficult for the child
to swallow the medicine or to retain it inside, he/she will be injected with IV
fluid. And if virus is responsible for the infection, antibiotics won't work.
Fever reducers, along with cough medicine, will be given in this case. The
medicines will be of no use, if the child doesn't take adequate rest and plenty
of liquids.

Shots can be taken to prevent pneumonia. These series of shots are called
pneumococcal. Regular flu shots can also prove helpful, especially for kids who
have asthma or other kinds of lung infection. Rest and sleep also strengthens
the immune system. Washing hands regularly can keep harmful germs at bay.

Poison Ivy and Children

Summer camps and family hiking sessions can sometimes result in children
getting itchy rashes. To be blamed are plants such as poison ivy, poison sumac
and poison oak. All of them produce the same substance or oil, called urushiol,
which cause rashes. Urushiol is colorless and even odorless and is present
within the leaves. Poison ivy can even grow in the backyards and parks. So any
kind of outdoor activity should be monitored and the lawn should be de-weeded
periodically. Bushes should be checked, as they grow as a regular plant and the
child would not be able to distinguish the poisonous plant from the regular one.

Precaution is better than cure. Children should be educated and made to
understand the description and ill-effects of poison ivy. They come in wide
range and some change the appearance depending on seasonal variations. Urushiol
is released from the leaves only when the leaves are damaged like when they are
torn, get bumped or are brushed. The moment the leave is damaged, urushiol is
released and the skin is affected immediately. Also, what many people do not
know that to get a rash by poison ivy is not only by coming directly in contact
with the plant. Human and animal carriers of urushiol can affect people coming
in contact with them. The leaves of the plant can be flown by the air, which
can cause damage when those leaves are handled or burned with the rest of the
leaves and twigs.

Once the children are made familiar with the plants, they should be asked to
steer clear on the sight of the plant or leaves. Parents should avoid places
where there are possibilities of growth of such plants. When going on camps,
etc., children should not be dressed in short sleeves and short length pants,
so that the body does not brush off such plants. In spite of taking all these
precautions, if the child comes in contact with such plants and contact with
urushiol is suspected, the area should be washed with water and disinfectant.
It is best to take shower and clean the whole body and the clothes should be
removed immediately and washed. Pets should also be bathed after their outdoor

Basically, the urushiol causes an allergic reaction which irritates the skin
and that is the reason why it is known as an allergen. This allergen won't harm
all, but eighty percent of the victims get skin irritations. It not only creates
itchy rashes, but can also swell the skin. The time period for the symptoms to
surface is few hours to five days. The rash usually takes one to two week to
heal completely. First the skin swells and rash develops. Blisters can also
form as a result of regular rubbing of the skin to get rid of the itch. The
blisters will form a crust after some days and will flake off.

If the rashes are accompanied with fever, a pediatrician should be contacted
for appointment. And if the case isn't that serious, the doctor recommends home
remedies. The child would be asked to be given showers with cold water and
calamine lotion would have to be applied. If the redness and itching is
intense, fluid medicine along with pills are administered to the kid.
Antihistamine is very popular in such cases. Steroids are prescribed by the

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