As a child starts to take first steps, everything changes for the child and the parents. The word ‘toddler’ is used for a child of one to three years of age, and this age group has its special set of problems. It is an age when suddenly the risk of falls increases. The child starts moving all over the house and parents start going out more often with a child. The child may put dirty hands in his or her mouth. The risk of various health problems also shoots up. It is an age when a child seems to be always catching one or another problem. Though thanks to immunization and better hygiene, many of the infectious diseases that used to be life threatening are extremely rare now.
Common health problems
Here is list of some health problems that are quite common among the toddlers:
Allergies- as your child starts interacting more frequently with the environment, allergies become a problem. There could be an allergy from the dust, mites, pets, insects, or certain food items. Most of the allergies are not serious and short-lived, but incidences of allergies among toddlers are rising and some of them may need medical attention.
Asthma- asthma and allergies often run in families. The number of cases of asthma among toddlers is on the rise. The majority of cases of asthma nowadays are recognized in the age group of below five. Coughing at night, a wheezing and whistling sound while breathing, frequent colds, and difficulty in breathing could all be signs of developing asthma. It’s a serious medical condition, requiring the attention of a specialist.
Bladder infection- it is more common in a girl child, signaled by several symptoms. You may notice that your child wees more often, has become restive, or may have a mild temperature, which is indicative of infection. It’s a condition that often requires treatment with antibiotics.
Chickenpox- though it has been mostly brought under control with vaccination, it is still prevalent in some areas. It is characterized by the formation of red itchy blisters on the body. It is a viral infection and the child should be isolated until the last of the blisters has healed over.
Colds- they are quite common during the childhood. In most cases, rest and fluids are enough. Sometimes toddler may need medications for fever like paracetamol or ibuprofen. If the fever remains high or a cough worsens, it is better consult a specialist. Self-medication is best avoided.
Croup- another common viral problem, with symptoms similar to a cold, but with more pronounced cough and hoarseness of voice. Most cases can be managed like a cold, but if there are symptoms of breathing problems, then it is best to seek advice from a specialist.
Vomiting and diarrhea- it is a common childhood problem, as toddlers often put dirty fingers inside their mouth. Mostly they are self-limiting, and just giving fluids more often will help. It is recommended to give oral rehydration fluids in order to avoid dehydration. In some cases, medical attention may be necessary.
Some tips for keeping your toddler healthy
Immunization- make sure that your child is immunized on time. It can protect from various nasty infections like mumps, measles, and diphtheria.
Hygiene – It is the most effective way of protecting the child. Teach your toddler the importance of washing hands and using soap.
Avoid non-prescription medications- avoid using non-prescription medications. Side effects from such medications are quite common, even many herbal remedies are proven not to be safe for children’s health.
Keep the house free from insects, use repellents, but avoid using the strong chemicals while cleaning the house. Keep the floor clean, especially the area used by the toddler. And finally, avoid smoking in the house or near the toddler.
By using the simple precautions and identifying the seriousness of health problem on time, you can keep your toddler safe.
About the author:
Dr. Preet Bhinder (M.D.)
Dr. Preet is a family physician; he has been practicing medicine for last 15 years and often sees children with various illnesses in his day-to-day practice. He understands the importance of identifying the serious symptoms on time and keeping the environment safe for toddlers. He is also a passionate writer.