Sniffles, rashes, and pink eye – oh, my! Being aware of common illnesses that show up in toddlerhood is an important step towards keeping little ones healthy. (If you have a baby head over to our article about common illnesses during babyhood.) Keep in mind that this article is not a substitute for medical advice. We always recommend that you consult your pediatrician if you have questions or concerns about your little one’s health.
During toddlerhood these illnesses are common:
Few toddlers escape catching a common cold. Colds are not caused by cold drafts or cold air, as previous generations may have believed. Your child can catch a cold by interacting with people who have a cold, or by touching surfaces that are contaminated with cold germs. Children with siblings and those who attend childcare programs are more susceptible. Colds can cause runny nose, sore throat, sneezing, fever, and red eyes.
Skin Rashes or Infections
Skin rashes, irritations, and infections are also common in early childhood. Rashes have many different causes (such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and yeast). Oftentimes rashes are not serious and can be easily treated. Sometimes rashes signal an underlying or more serious issue. It’s always important to have your doctor examine a rash to identify the cause so you can treat it properly.
Pink Eye can be caused by a virus, bacteria, or allergies. Children often get pink eye after a bad cold. Viral pink eye often affect both eyes, causing them to appear red and sticky with a white discharge – especially right after waking up. Bacterial pink eye usually only affects one eye at a time. Pink eye that’s caused by allergies does not have a white discharge, but both eyes appear red and itchy. Remember that viral and bacterial pink eye are both very contagious, so if your child has one of these types keep everyone’s hands clean and away from their eyes.
Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease
Hand, foot and mouth disease is caused by the Coxsackie virus. It’s most commonly seen in children during the late summer and early fall months, but it can be contracted throughout the year. Hand, foot and mouth disease spreads through touching or breathing. The virus can also live long enough on surfaces and objects to spread to others, so be sure to keep countertops and toys clean. Hand, foot and mouth disease causes red blisters on the tops of the feet, hands, and mouth, a fever, body pain, and lack of appetite.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
A UTI occurs if bacteria gets into the urinary tract through the urethra. In toddlers, UTIs can happen due to constipation, not emptying the bladder completely, or holding in urine – oftentimes showing up during or after potty training. Potty training can be prime time for UTIs because of all of the reasons listed above, and also because little ones are still learning how to wipe themselves properly. UTIs are more common in girls, because their urethras are shorter. Common symptoms of UTI include frequent urge to urinate, pain when urinating, and feeling like the bladder is still full after urinating. Other possible symptoms are fever, back pain, and vomiting.
Remember to check-in with your pediatrician if you have trouble identifying any illnesses or symptoms your child might be experiencing. The Internet can offer a lot of information, but only your doctor can give you an accurate diagnosis!