Bronchiolitis is a common respiratory tract infection that often occurs in children under the age of two. This condition infects the airways that lead to the lungs and causes inflammation and swelling. Mucus collects in these airways and may cause difficulty breathing.
Symptoms of bronchiolitis are similar to those of a common cold, but also include coughing and wheezing. Infants are at a higher risk for bronchiolitis because their airways are narrower and can become blocked more easily.
Most cases of bronchiolitis get better on their own within three to five days. Antibiotics cannot be used since this is a viral infection. You can help prevent your child from catching bronchiolitis by keeping them away from people with colds or coughs, cigarette smoke and siblings who go to school or daycare.
Just like adults, many children suffer from sleeping disorders that prevent them from getting a sufficient amount of sleep. Sleeping disorders can develop from a number of different causes. A lack of sleep during the night has been linking to an increase in behavioral problems and to bad grades in classes such as math, reading and writing. Sleep problems can also cause anxiety and depression in children.
Sleep disorders in children are classified into two different categories, depending on the symptoms. Dyssomnias may include trouble falling asleep, inadequate sleep hygiene, insufficient sleep syndrome or snoring and sleep apnea. Parasomnias includes sleepwalking, night terrors, nightmares and rhythmic movement disorders such as head banging. Children may also suffer from insomnia, which involves difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep and waking up in the morning.
Other sleep conditions commonly experienced by children include:
The best treatment for your child's sleep disorder depends on the symptoms that he/she is experiencing, along with the child's age and overall health. Some symptoms, such as bed wetting and night terrors, may be the result of emotional stress, and can often be relieved through behavioral interventions. For unknown causes, an overnight sleep study, or polysomnography, may be performed, especially for children with daytime sleepiness and problems staying asleep. This study monitors your child's body functions while he/she sleeps in order to determine the cause of the sleeping disorder.
Headaches are common in both children and adults. In fact, up to four out of five children suffer from headaches occasionally. Like adults, there are several different causes of headaches in children, including from a cold or flu, injury, stress or as a reaction to certain foods or environments.
Many children suffer from tension-type headaches, which are recurring episodes that cause a pressure-type pain all over the head. These headaches can last from several minutes to several days, and are usually mild to moderate in severity. They may also cause light or sound sensitivity. Some children that first experience tension headaches may progress to experiencing daily headaches that may occur because they are lacking certain vitamins.
Tension and daily headaches should be monitored so that your child's doctor can more easily identify any potential triggers. Over-the-counter or prescription medication can be given to help relieve the symptoms of a headache, and drinking fluids can also help the headache go away faster.
Migraines are recurring headaches that can last anywhere from several hours to several days, with periods of relief in between. These headaches are usually more severe than others, and may interrupt a child's normal daily activities, often causing throbbing pain, nausea and vomiting. Migraines are likely caused by changes in a body chemical called serotonin, and can be triggered by certain things, such as:
While many of these things cannot be avoided, parents can help their children prevent migraines by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and maintaining a regular sleep schedule. When your child does experience a migraine, it is best to have them lie down in a cool, dark place with a wet cloth across the forehead. Your doctor may prescribe certain medications to help treat migraines, which should be taken as soon as the migraine begins.
Movement disorders are neurological conditions that involve abnormalities in the quality and quantity of spontaneous movement.
Tics are one of the most common types of movement disorders found in children, and involve making the same movements or sounds over and over again, which cannot be controlled by the child. These tics are usually worse when the child is stressed, tired or anxious. Some of the most common tic actions are throat clearing and eye squinting.
Tics are classified into different levels depending on the type of action performed. Simple tics include coughing, grunting, facial twitches or shoulder shrugs, while complex tics often involve repeating a certain word, phrase or series of movements. Patients can usually sense when a tic is coming, which can be increased if they attempt to prevent it. Multiple motor and vocal tics may indicate a diagnosis of Tourette's syndrome, otherwise most tic disorders are referred to as chronic motor tic disorder.
Most tics only last for less than a year, before they go away on their own. Children with mild tics should just be reassured, with minimal attention paid to the tic. More severe tics can often be treated with mild sedatives or high blood pressure medication, which blocks the neurotransmitter that is thought to cause tics. These medications are often successful in alleviating the symptoms of the tic, although tics may continue to exist and frequently change.
While spitting up after a meal is common for infants, frequent vomiting may be a result of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which involves the upward movement of stomach content into the esophagus. In infants, this condition may be a result of a poorly coordinated gastrointestinal tract. Older children may develop GERD from a relaxed lower esophageal sphincter, the same factor that causes the disease in adults, and may also be influenced by factors such as obesity, overeating and by certain foods or drinks.
Children and infants with GERD may experience frequent vomiting, coughing, difficulty eating, heartburn, gas or abdominal pain. Most babies will simply outgrow GERD by the time they reach the age of one year. Older children may require treatment which usually includes medication to decrease stomach acid. Parents can help their children relieve the symptoms of GERD by elevating the head of the bed or crib, keeping the child upright for a period of time after eating or by changing the child's eating schedule. Other preventive measures should be discussed with your child's doctor to reduce the symptoms of GERD.
Abdominal pain is a common symptom that affects children and adults of all ages. Abdominal pain may be acute or chronic, and can have many possible causes, including constipation, diarrhea, gas, appendicitis or a bladder infection. Some of these conditions are more serious than others, but parents should seek medical attention for abdominal pain that is severe or persistent.
Your child's abdominal pain may be sharp or dull, may occur in just one area of the stomach or all over, and the pain may be constant or come and go. Abdominal pain is often associated with nausea, vomiting, fever and fainting as well. All of these factors are important in helping your child's doctor diagnose the cause of the pain. Parents should communicate with their child if possible to determine the specific symptoms he or she is experiencing. Immediate medical attention should be sought if your child is also experiencing high fever, pain during urination or pain in one specific area.
Treatment for abdominal pain usually focuses on treating the underlying cause of the pain. Appendicitis and other emergency conditions may require surgery, while other conditions can be treated with medications, fluids or rest. Relieving stress and eating a healthy and balanced diet can often help control abdominal pain as well.