The average cost of raising a child in the U.S. is $233,610. 9% of that goes to their healthcare. You can include your kid as a beneficiary in your health insurance to save costs. However, budgeting is just the tip of the iceberg when dealing with a child’s health issue. Nothing will compare to the anxiety and sleepless nights you’d experience when your kid is in pain.
No matter how hands-on you are in maintaining your child’s good health, they’d still experience health problems from time to time. It’s a normal part of growing up. But if your child has a strong immune system, they can recover fast and bounce back in no time.
Your child’s first illness will be one of the most stressful events in your life. So here are the common health problems to prepare for and how to treat them correctly:
1. Common Colds
Many kids can get 6 to 8 common colds per year. Symptoms include runny and/or clogged nose, coughing, general fatigue, body aches, sore throat, and sneezing. Loss of smell and taste may also occur.
Some cases of colds require antibiotics, but most do not. Kids may even recover without taking medication. A common home remedy for colds is a saltwater gargle. Combined with rest and hydration, a saltwater gargle can treat a kid’s cold symptoms within a few days.
If a fever accompanies the cold, a warm bath will also help treat it. Children over six years old can take antihistamines, pain relievers, and decongestants, while kids below six shouldn’t take any cold medication. The side effects of drugs can cause serious problems in their little bodies.
2. Sore Throat
Children can experience sore throats without a cold. It is caused by a virus that fortunately doesn’t need antibiotics to treat. In such a case, your child’s sore throat can go away on its own in seven to ten days. But a specific strain of sore throat, called strep throat, is more serious and would require antibiotics.
Strep throat is caused by an infection called streptococcal. To diagnose it, you need to take your child to the pediatrician. They’ll get a quick swab of your child’s throat and take it to the lab for testing. If your child is found positive for strep, they’ll be prescribed antibiotics. It’s highly crucial for your child to follow the prescribed antibiotic dose, even when their symptoms have begun ebbing away. Also, note they can’t take steroids, such as prednisone, for strep throat.
3. Ear Infections
Three-quarters of children will get an ear infection by age three. Since they’re only toddlers by that time, you may not catch on to the symptoms easily. There are two types of ear infections, namely otitis externa (swimmer’s ear) and otitis media (middle ear infection).
Pressure from a cold or sinus infection can also block a child’s hearing, causing pain in the ear. But if they have no history of either illness, an audiologist or ENT must take a look at your child’s ears, especially if a fever joins their ear pain.
Otitis externa is commonly contracted after water activities, like swimming, hence the name Swimmer’s Ear. It’s an infection in the ear canal caused by a fungus or virus. It doesn’t require antibiotics to treat, just ear drops prescribed by a doctor.
Otitis media is more serious, as it can affect the eardrum. Amoxicillin is the preferred type of antibiotic to treat it. In otitis media, fluid will flow out of the ear, and in severe cases, a doctor may have to insert a tube into a child’s eardrum to drain out the fluid.
Ear infections are common in children because they tend to insert foreign objects into their ears. So monitor your child’s playtime, and make sure their hands are always clean before they touch their ears.
Tooth decay or cavity is prevalent in toddlers and children, given their fondness for sweets. If you don’t take them to a reputable dentist regularly, their cavities may get worse or multiply, causing pain.
A kid can still get cavities even if they don’t eat sweets often. That’s because plaque buildup, which occurs when bacteria form due to a combination of food, acid, and saliva, can puncture a hole in the tooth over time. Brushing teeth at least two times a day and regular cleaning sessions in dental clinics will help prevent plaque and cavities.
Thankfully, the common health problems kids experience aren’t serious in nature. We’ve already overcome most grave diseases in kids, thanks to vaccinations. So stay on track with your child’s immunizations, watch what they eat, and ensure that they’re observing good hygiene.