Common Childhood Illnesses to Look Out For During the School Year


Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease that causes blister-like rashes, severe itching, exhaustion, and fever in children. It is common for children to have up to 500 itchy blisters across their bodies when they catch chickenpox. Fortunately, a chickenpox vaccine now makes it possible to prevent this disease entirely. Make sure your young child receives the proper chickenpox vaccine at the pediatrician.

Ear Infection

Most children will experience at least one ear infection in their young lives. Ear infections affect the ear canal or middle canal, often when fluid builds up as result of bacteria or viruses. Breastfeeding for the first six months and getting the pneumococcal vaccination are both known to minimize your child’s risk of ear infections.

Specific symptoms indicate that your child may have an ear infection, including tugging or pulling at an ear, difficulty sleeping, irritability and crying, loss of balance, and fever. Depending on the severity of your child’s ear infection, your pediatrician may recommend antibiotics as a treatment.

Hand, Foot, and Mouth

This viral infection is mild yet highly contagious in young children. It is most commonly caused by a coxsackievirus. The easiest way to identify hand, foot, and mouth disease is by the sores that develop in your child’s mouth and the rash that forms on your child’s hands and feet. Other specific symptoms include fever, sore throat, irritability, and loss of appetite.

Diligent hygiene is the best way to protect against hand, foot, and mouth disease. If that fails, treatment for this illness is relatively simple. Use a topical oral anesthetic to relieve the pain of mouth sores and over-the-counter Tylenol can relieve general discomfort. Sucking on popsicles and eating ice cream can also alleviate pain in the throat. Over time, hand, foot, and mouth disease will cure itself.


Children under five years of age are vulnerable to croup, a inflammation caused by the same virus responsible for the common cold. Croup causes the windpipe to swell and make it harder for your child to breathe. As a result, croup is marked by a distinctive barking cough that makes a harsh, painful sound. There is usually no official treatment for croup, just simple steps to take at home to help your child feel comfortable until the inflammation dissipates.

If your child is demonstrating symptoms of pain, discomfort, or illness, don’t wait to call Dr. Stephen G. Nelson at (727) 525-2161 to make a pediatric appointment. Dr. Nelson will help you identify the best treatment to restore your child’s health and comfort.