Minor Illnesses in Children

Cold, cough, vomiting, diarrhea and fever are minor illnesses that every child gets now and then. Some children get these more often than others do. Fortunately serious diseases like polio, diphtheria, tetanus, etc. are prevented by timely immunization, but there is very little you can do to prevent minor illnesses.

Many parents, who come to me when their child is ill, want instant cure, not only because they are worried about their child but because they do not want the child to miss school especially if the child has to take some examination.


Parents should try to get some knowledge about these diseases by reading about them. You must understand that most of these illnesses are due to viral infection. Most virus infection lasts for 4 to 5 days and there is no way that this time can be shortened. Medicines are given to make the child comfortable; they will not cure the disease. (Fortunately for some of the serious viral infections antiviral medicines are available.) 

Children, when they are ill, will usually refuse to eat anything so you will have to keep on giving them a small amount of liquid so that they do not get dehydrated. A child who is ill needs rest, so does not send your child to school when he is ill. Although schooling and examinations are important, they are not more important than your child’s health. In the next few chapters, I will be discussing these minor illnesses and how to deal with them.

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