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Children and Illness: The Main Reasons that Kids Miss School

By Cyndra Neal

Many parents can probably relate to having a child who seems to be sick all the time. Often times, parents find themselves wondering why their kids get sick so often. They may even feel like their kids are sick more often than other people’s children. The reality, however, is that most kids get sick several times a year, particularly when they are younger.

Regardless of whether your kids are in daycare centers, school, or with other child care providers, it is important to remember that children, in general, are carriers of a variety of infectious illnesses that are easily passed around. The illnesses that most commonly cause kids to miss school are discussed here.

Stomach Flu

Also known as viral gastroenteritis, the stomach flu can develop after coming into contact with someone who is already infected with the virus or after eating or drinking food or beverages that have been contaminated. This is one of those illnesses that simply must run its course because there are no known treatments.

The most common symptoms of stomach flu are vomiting and diarrhea, so it is important to ensure that kids stay properly hydrated while they are sick. They also need to get plenty of rest and should return to a normal diet very gradually.

The Common Cold

When kids cough or sneeze without covering their mouths and noses, infected droplets cause the common cold to be a rapidly spreading menace. Of course, there are still no cures for colds, so the best thing parents can do for their kids is help them get through these unpleasant periods of time. Keep in mind that as a general rule, cold medications are not recommended for children, particularly very young ones, so only use them if suggested by your doctor.

When kids have a cold, the best things to do are give them plenty of fluids and let them get a lot of rest.

Sore Throat

Viruses cause most sore throats, and they are usually accompanied by a cough and a runny nose. If a fever is present, however, it is important that you take your child to the doctor right away, as it is possible that strep throat could be the culprit. Strep throat has to be treated with antibiotics, so do not delay calling the doctor if even just a small fever is present.

In addition to making sure children with sore throats get plenty of rest, they should also try to drink lots of fluids and get as much rest as possible. It will be particularly helpful for them to give their voices a break, so encourage limited (or no) cell phone use for a while.

Ear Infections

These are also caused by viral infections. In many instances, ear infections start out as colds and gradually develop into an infection as fluid builds up behind the eardrum. Because these are viral in nature, antibiotics do not help to clear them up any sooner, so the best thing to do is wait them out.

It usually only takes a few days for this type of infection to clear up. In the meantime, contact your doctor to find out his recommended course of treatment, which may include pain relievers or ear drops.

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