As a parent, you want the very best for your children. Our doctors are here to answer any questions you have about their health and wellbeing – from hearing and speech development through to behavioural or sleep issues.
At Denmark Medical Centre, we provide the full vaccination schedule for babies and children.
We’re also here to help with everything from common childhood ailments to more complex issues that affect your child’s health and wellbeing. If there’s something that we can’t help with, we’ll be able to refer your child on to the appropriate specialist.
Curious to know what we treat most in children? Read on.
We listen to chesty coughs in children all the time!
Coughs are usually caused by the common cold. And it’s normal for kids to have eight or more colds a year – they lack the immunity to resist them. Hence, a lot of coughing.
Children often experience fever, aches, cough, stuffy nose and a sore throat during a common cold. Symptoms usually peak within two to three days but can last for up to two weeks. If your child is eating, drinking, and breathing normally and is not wheezing, a cough should not alarm you.
If your child has a bad cough that won’t go away, is breathless, wheezing or has a high temperature, make an appointment with your doctor.
2) Ear infections
Parents of young children know how common ear infections are. Five out of six children will have at least one of these painful infections by their third birthday.
Also called otitis media, ear infections are common in children because of their narrow ear canal. The accumulation of air and water in the middle ear, often caused by bacteria, creates pressure and inflammation that leads to intense pain. A bacterial ear infection often begins after a child has a cold or other upper respiratory infection.
In very young children who are not yet speaking, signs of an ear infection include fussiness, sleeplessness and tugging at the ear.
Highly contagious, bacterial and viral conjunctivitis can spread quickly through childcare centres and schools. If one child has conjunctivitis and rubs their eyes while playing with a toy, it’s easy for the next child to pick up the germs.
Conjunctivitis causes inflammation of the membrane that covers the inside of your child’s eyelids and the white part of the eye. Your child’s eye will be red with a lot of pus.
Bacterial conjunctivitis can spread very quickly through your home, so make sure your child washes their hands regularly, avoids touching the eyes, and does not share bedding or linens with anyone else. Keep your child out of school for at least 24 hours after treatment begins.
Viral conjunctivitis is also very contagious and is caused by the same virus responsible for the common cold. You’ll notice a watery mucus discharge from your child’s eye. Symptoms usually last for up to two weeks and then disappear on their own, although severe cases can last even longer. Antibiotic eye drops do not cure viral conjunctivitis.
Allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious and is caused by an allergen in the environment that is irritating your child’s eye. The main symptom is itching. Applying cool compresses to the eyes and using eye drops are helpful.
4) Sore throat
Most cases of sore throat are viral in origin. Streptococcus bacteria is also a common culprit.
Sore throats are commonly seen during the school year when young kids and teens are in close quarters.
How can you differentiate between a normal sore throat caused by the common cold virus and a sore throat caused by the streptococcus bacteria? If your child also has a runny nose and sneezing, it’s probably a cold. But if the sore throat lasts more than a week and your child experiences:
Painful or difficult swallowing
Pus or red and white patches in the back of the throat
Tender or swollen glands (lymph nodes) in the neck
Red and enlarged tonsils
Fever over 38 degrees
Loss of appetite and nausea
. . . and has been in contact with someone who has streptococcus sore throat, it’s probably caused by the bacteria. The bacteria are spread during normal activities like sneezing and coughing, which is why teaching kids to cover their mouths and wash their hands often is so important.
5) Gastroenteritis, or a stomach bug
This common infection in the intestines causes vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain ranging from mild to severe. Many children have more than one episode in a year. A variety of viruses, parasites and bacteria that are easily spread in schools and day-care centres, including norovirus, can cause gastroenteritis.
Most stomach viruses clear up within a few days to a week, and the main concern is preventing dehydration. Encourage your child to drink fluids in small, frequent amounts. If your child can’t keep down sips of liquids and begins to show signs of severe dehydration such as lethargy or no urine for six hours or more, make an appointment with your doctor immediately.