Common Childhood Illnesses

September 23, 2013

Todays illness is Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Most of the time RSV appears to be a common cold, so many children are not treated for it. RSV is a virus that infects the lungs and breathing pathways. This can lead to bronchiolitis or pneumonia. Most children will get RSV before their second birthday. RSV is not something that your body can build immune to, therefore each time you get it the symptoms are the same. It is important that there is a distinct diagnoses between the common cold and NSV in infants. NSV can cause lung and respiratory damage to children under the age of three. After this age NSV will effect the child the same a a common cold.

This is an X-ray of a child with NSV.


Sources: and  and





September 24, 2013

Whooping cough is a serious illness that effects the respiratory tract. It is a highly contagious virus that now normally affects infant who have not yet received the full vaccine or older teens who’s vaccines have started to ware off. You can normally make the distinction between a whooping cough and a cough that comes with a common cold. After a child coughs you will hear a high pitch sound as they inhale, that almost sound like “whoop”. This is how it got its name. The medical name for it is pertussis. The reason that infants are so at risk for whooping cough is their week immune system. When an infant is infected with whooping cough, it can lead to pneumonia, trouble breathing, and in the worst cases the bust of blood vessels due to the pressure of the cough causing bleeding of the brain. It is very important that you have children vaccinated, and look for the symptoms of whooping cough.

sources: , and




September 25, 2013

Today I researched Fifth disease, but is also know as “slapped cheek”. Fifth disease is a virus that is spread by cough or sneeze. This virus will give you a rash on your face, arms, legs, and in some cases the whole body. The symptoms of fifth diseases are similar to the common cold or flu: runny nose, cough, sore throat, and headache. These symptoms don’t normally appear until after two or three weeks after exposer. The rash will normally appear on the face first and then spread to the rest of the body. After about five days the rash will fade. The rash may pop back up over the next week or two. This doesn’t mean that the rash is getting worse or that your child is even more sick. There are several reasons why the rash may come back: exposer to long amounts of sun light, the body gets to hot, or stress. Not every child will get a rash. Sometimes the child will have joint pain. A doctor can diagnose your child with fifths disease, but there is not much that can be done in terms of treatment. A doctor can give medication for the symptoms but because fifths disease is a virus there no antibiotic to give. You have to let fifth disease run its course and ease the symptoms as much as possible.


Fun Fact: Fifth disease gets its name from french doctors a century when they would label common childhood illnesses that had rashes by there severity.  For example, measles was “first disease” scarlet fever  was “second disease”. The reason it got the nickname of slapped cheek was that the rash looks like a slapped cheek. I just thought that was interesting as to how it got its name.





September 26, 2013

Todays illness is Croup. It is a common respiratory problem in young children. Croup is cause by a virus, the same virus that give us the common cold. This means that it is highly contagious, and can by passed on from contact. croup causes the child to have difficulty breathing. The breathing tubes, windpipe and voice box all swell making it had for a child to breath. Most children get scared when infected with croup because they feel as if they can’t breath. The cough that come with croup is a very distinctive cough, sometimes compared to a barking seal. Doctors are able to diagnose croup rather fast due to the cough and swollen airways. A doctor can place a pulse oximeter on a child’s finger, toe, or earlobe to help the blood cell receive enough oxygen. Other than that a doctor will not due much. Croup only last about a week so it is best to let it run its course. At home rest is best for the child, doctors will tell you that a humidifier will help with the symptoms. Most older children don’t get croup because of the more developed lungs and respiratory system.







October 1, 2013

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease is a highly contagious virus. The symptoms for Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease is exactly what is in the name. A child will get sore on or around the hands, feet, and mouth. In some cases these sores can be painful. It is most commonly spread through sneezing and coughing, but for younger children it is easy to spread through stool. Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease will normally break out in large numbers. Rarely will you see only one child in a community have Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease. The incubation period, or time it takes for the virus to show symptoms is three to six days. Children can run a fever of 101F to 103F. Sore will a pear after a day or two. In some cases the sores will crust over. Doctors will be able to tell if your child has Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease by the symptoms listed and the sores the child might have. Like many common childhood viruses, you must let it run its course. There is medication you can give your child to help ease some of the symptoms, but rest and lots of fluid is best for your child.






October 2, 2013

Scarlet fever is also another feared childhood illness. But it is actually one of the easiest childhood illnesses to diagnose and treat. Scarlet fever can come if a child has strep throat. Scarlet fever is a glorified way to say strep throat with a rash. The child will get a rash on the skin that looks like a sunburn and feels like sandpaper. This is easy for doctors to see and diagnose. Most of the time they will look at the symptoms of the strep throat and do a rapid strep test or throat culture. Doctors will give an antibiotic to get rid of the strep throat and rash. Scarlet fever was once feared to be a deadly illness in children but that is no longer the case.






October 5, 2013

The ear infection or Acute Otitis Media. Oh how we all hate the dreaded ear infection… An ear infection normally occurs after a child has had a cold, flu, or respiratory infection. During the time in which the child has a cold, flu, ect. the eustachian tube (the tube that connects the throat to the middle ear) becomes swollen. This prevents air from getting to the middle ear, creating a suction. The suction will bring in fluid into the middle ear, making a great space for bacteria and virus to grow. Symptoms of ear infection can include ear pain, fever, thick and yellow drainage from the ear, irritability, loss of appetite, vomiting, difficulty sleeping, and trouble hearing. A Doctor can give an antibiotic to get rid of the infection. You commonly see ear infection in younger children (around 7 and younger) because of the development of the ear and eustachian tube.






November 23, 2013

Here are just a few fun facts that I have learned over the past few days:

Clubbing of the fingers means that a child has low oxygen levels. It can also be a symptom of an underlying illness such as heart/lung problems, cancers, and other disease. Here is a picture of clubbed fingers:



The “nasal salute” or nose scrunch it a tell tale sign of nasal allergies.



When a child is born they are nice a round and full of water. Most kids will lose some water weight in the first few days of life. It only becomes a problem if they lose more than 10% of their original weight.

Another really cool thing was that I got to learn how a rapid strep test works. A nurse was nice enough to show me how they do it and how it works! Its actually really amazing how it works and how easy it is to use. Again my knowledge of chemistry and biology helped me out here.

And the best one of all.. I knew something that 3 residents did not! My pediatrician that I am following was nice enough to invite me to sit in on a lesson she was teaching about childhood dermatology. She went over several different cases, each with pictures and slides. I learned different ways doctors might treat some of these cases. At the end the pediatrician showed us a picture and gave use some history of the patient and its symptoms, and asked us what it was. We had four choices, one of which was Hand Foot Mouth. The residents all guessed hepatitis A or B. Luck me I had just talked about Hand Foot Mouth on this blog, so the symptoms were familiar. I was the only one who knew it was Hand Foot Mouth. That was the highlight of the week for me!


November 25, 2013

In AP Biology we are currently covering genetics, which is perfect right now! The other day the pediatrician and I talked about different genetic disorders that can affect children, in particular DiGeorge syndrome.

In order for a doctor to find out if a child has a genetic disorder or not they must order a series of test. Genetic test are run by using a tissue sample, like blood, bone marrow, or tissue from an organ. The doctor will then send it to the lab to be read by a specialist.

This process is called Karyotyping (which is what we are learning about right now in class). Karyotyping can help look for a change in the number of chromosomes or a change in a chromosomes structure. A normal karyotype will have 44 chromosomes and 2 sex chromosomes. For female it is 46 XX, for male it is 46 XY. Karyotyping had made major advances in its technology over the years. Today it can be done on a computer and read by a specialist.

Once a specialist has the results they are able to diagnoses a patient or tell them that they are perfectly healthy. In many cases if a doctor  is ordering genetic testing it usually means that they think there is something wrong. Many things may clue a doctor in on whether or not a child might need genetic testing. One of the biggest clues can be the physical and mental development. Another reason may be birth defects or complications of health.

For instance DiGeorge syndrome can have many symptoms and complications such as heart defects, poor immune system function, a cleft palate, low calcium in the blood, and more. DiGeorge is a deletion in the chromosome in the chromosome 22. This what causes all the complications.

This was interesting to me and was a perfect way to relate my work to AP Biology now that I have a better understanding of genetics!

Here is a picture of a normal karyotype of a female:



Here is a picture of DiGeorge in a female: Image



Here is the karyotype of HeLa cells (a type of cancer), one of the most interesting cells ever! They are technically immortal!



There are so many more that I could post, but again I could spend a whole semester on it!




November 29, 2013

Childhood asthma is something that effects children everyday. The lungs and airways are easily inflamed for different reasons. Sometimes it is a trigger that will cause the asthma, like allergies or a respiratory infection. Other times it can be triggered by physical activity. This can sometimes make it hard on kids to play, sports, sleep, or even school in some cases. If untreated asthma can cause serious asthma attacks. According to the Mayo Clinic asthma attacks are one of the leading causes for emergency visits, hospitalization, and missed school days. There is no cure for childhood asthma and it can sometimes carry into adulthood. The goal of a doctor is to help with the symptoms so that they don’t interfere with the development of the lungs. Creating an asthma action plan can help a child and there family if an asthma attack occurs. Medications that a doctor can give include:  a rescue inhaler (like albuterol) , inhaled corticosteroids (the most commonly proscribed longterm medication), leukotriene modifiers (used to prevent symptoms for 24 hrs), Theophylline (a pill that will help keep airways open). That is just a few types of medications, there are so many different types of medication with todays advanced medicine and research. 

Here is a diagram of what happens during an asthma attack: Image

Now here is a x-ray of healthy lungs:


When a person has asthma you normally cant tell on an x-ray but I think it is important to know what a set of healthy lungs look like.


The reason I am posting this is because my brother just found out he has asthma, and he is a teen. I found myself wondering what exactly asthma was. So this post was made!




December 2, 2013

Todays topic is about childhood obesity. Seems fitting with Thanksgiving just a few days ago. I am going to make a wild guess and say that everyone over ate over the course of Thanksgiving day.

Childhood obesity is an epidemic in America. Almost 1:5 children are obese or over weight. Thats a lot of kids! It can be so easy to prevent this from happening in some children.

Some children have a history of family obesity, other just put on the weight. Children that are over weight are prone to having more health issues. Chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes are more common in children who are over weight. Not only will being over weigh effect the child physically, but also mentally. Children who are over weight are more prone to stress, sadness, low confidence, and self-esteem.

Many factors can play in to why a child might be obese. Eating habits, amount of physical activity, genetic factors, or a combination of one of these are the main factors of childhood obesity. A pediatrician can examine and run blood work to see what the cause for the weight gain is. Many times it is not genetics, and can be ruled out by blood work. The most common factors are diet and exercise, or the lack of I should say. Doctors can put a child on a diet an exercise plan but it is up to the child and their family to see the plan through.

With the correct diet and exercise we could cut childhood obesity in half. To encouraging our youth to be healthier we must set the example. Each child should get at least 60 minutes a day to exercise, and eat three balanced meals a day with limited snacking.

Here is what the food pyramid looks like:Image

The food pyramid was designed to help show kids how to eat correctly.

Another great picture is what a plant should look like:


This picture is more for adults but can work for children as well.


Here is a great web site if you are looking for ways to eat better.











Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s