21 Childhood Illnesses that you should know

Dr Ranjeet Kumar, Consultant Pediatrician, Orchid Medical Centre

A child needs more care than an adult. The child specialists diagnose illness and ensure the overall health of your child. A child specialist provides unique medical care to children and focuses entirely on paediatrics well-being. During the initial months and years of your child’s life the visit to a doctor is very frequent, be it for overall health check-up and growth monitoring or for the regular vaccination. So, it’s better to get comfortable with the doctor and discuss the smallest things that are causing the problem to your child’s health.

Different Illness of children that are being managed at our hospital are:-

  • Jaundice – Most newborns develop jaundice in the early days of their life which is known as physiological jaundice but in some neonates, this become pathological which threatens their neurological development and in few their lives. We have got phototherapy and double volume exchange transfusion for managing this illness.
  • Polycythemia – It is an abnormally high concentration of red blood cells. Most cases can be classified as having active (increased fetal erythropoiesis) or passive (erythrocyte transfusion) polycythemia. By increasing blood viscosity, polycythemia can impair microcirculatory flow in end organs and can present with neurologic, cardiopulmonary, gastrointestinal, and metabolic symptoms.
  • Vaccination – A vaccine is a biological preparation that provides active acquired immunity to a particular infectious disease. In stimulating the body’s adaptive immunity, they help prevent sickness from an infectious disease. Vaccination is the birthright of every child.
  • Infant Respiratory Distress Syndrome – It is (also known as Hyaline membrane disease) a syndrome in premature infants caused by developmental insufficiency of pulmonary surfactant production and structural immaturity in the lungs. It can also be a consequence of neonatal infection and can result from a genetic problem with the production of surfactant-associated proteins. IRDS affects about 1% of newborns and is the leading cause of death in preterm infants.
  • Perinatal Asphyxia – Perinatal asphyxia is a lack of blood flow or gas exchange to or from the fetus in the period immediately before, during, or after the birth process. It can result in profound systemic and neurologic sequelae due to decreased blood flow and/or oxygen to a fetus or infant during the peripartum period.
  • Bronchiolitis – An inflammatory bronchial reaction in young children and infants. It is almost always caused by a virus. The condition most commonly occurs during the winter months. The condition starts like a common cold. It progresses to coughing, wheezing and sometimes difficulty breathing.
  • Pneumonia -Pneumonia is an infection in the lungs. It is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in children younger than the age of 5 years globally. It is commonly bacterial or viral. Symptoms include 
  • Productive cough, Pain in the chest, Vomiting or diarrhoea, Decrease in appetite, Fatigue, Fever and may progress to severe respiratory distress, shock and death.
  • Bronchial Asthma – Bronchial asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by bronchial hyperreactivity and a variable degree of airway obstruction. It is diagnosed on the basis of the clinical history, physical examination, and pulmonary function tests, including reversibility testing and measurement of bronchial reactivity. About 10% of children suffer from asthma. Symptoms include shortness of breath (often in acute episodes, expiratory wheezes, chest pressure sensation and cough.
  • Meningitis/ Meningoencephalitis  – Meningitis is an inflammation of the thin membranes that cover the brain and the spinal cord. It is most often caused by a bacterial or viral infection that moves into the cerebral spinal fluid. A fungus or parasite may also cause meningitis. Symptoms include Neck pain, Back pain, Headache, Sleepiness, Confusion, Irritability, Fever, Refusing to eat, Reduced level of consciousness, Seizures, eye sensitivity to light (photophobia), Nausea and vomiting, Neck stiffness and sometimes purple-red splotchy rash. In Severe cases, it may lead to status epilepticus, raised intracranial pressure, brain abscess, coma and death. The long-term complications may be seizures, brain damage, hearing loss and disability.
  • Epilepsy – Epilepsy is a central nervous system (neurological) disorder in which brain activity becomes abnormal, causing seizures or periods of unusual behaviour, sensations, and sometimes loss of awareness. Seizure signs and symptoms may include Temporary confusion, a staring spell, uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs, loss of consciousness or awareness, psychic symptoms such as fear, anxiety or déjà vu etc.

Neurocysticercosis is a preventable parasitic infection of the central nervous system and is caused by the pork tapeworm Taenia solium. Humans become infected after consuming undercooked food, particularly pork, or water contaminated with tapeworm eggs, or through poor hygiene practices. It is a leading cause of epilepsy worldwide. Common symptoms of neurocysticercosis include:

  • seizures,
  • headaches,
  • blindness,
  • meningitis and
  • dementia.

Nephrotic Syndrome – It is a kidney disorder that causes the body to excrete too much protein in the urine. Nephrotic syndrome is often caused by damage to small blood vessels in the kidneys that filter waste and excess water from the blood. An underlying health condition usually plays a role.

Symptoms include

  • swelling around the eyes,
  •  and in the feet,
  •  and ankles,
  • foamy urine,
  •  and weight gain due to excess fluid retention.

Nephritic Syndrome – Nephritic syndrome is characterized by glomerular capillary damage leading to hematuria, pyuria, water retention, and subsequent hypertension and oedema. It can be caused by a variety of conditions including autoimmune, hereditary, and infectious diseases. Nephritic diseases can manifest with varying degrees of severity, ranging from asymptomatic hematuria to systemic involvement, as in rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis. The urine sediment is typically characterized by red blood cell casts, mild to moderate proteinuria and sterile pyuria.

UTI and VUR and other renal diseases – Urinary tract infection (UTI) is defined by ≥ 5 × 104 colonies/mL in a catheterized urine specimen or, in older children, by repeated voided specimens with ≥ 105 colonies/mL. In younger children, UTIs are frequently associated with anatomic abnormalities. UTI may cause fever, failure to thrive, flank pain, and signs of sepsis, especially in young children. Vesicoureteral reflux (VUR) is a condition in which urine flows backwards from the bladder to one or both ureters and sometimes to the kidneys. VUR is most common in infants and young children.

Pericardial Effusion – Pericardial effusion is the buildup of extra fluid in the space around the heart. If too much fluid builds up, it can put pressure on the heart. This can prevent it from pumping normally in children. It is caused by bacterial and viral infections, connective tissue disease, metabolic disorders and malignancies. Echocardiography is an accurate and sensitive, bedside, non-invasive diagnostic tool. Pericardial drainage can be achieved either by percutaneous catheter drainage or by surgery.

Pleural Effusion – A pleural effusion is the accumulation of excessive fluid in the pleural space, the potential space that surrounds each lung. Excess fluid within the pleural space can impair inspiration by upsetting the functional vacuum and hydrostatically increasing the resistance against lung expansion, resulting in a fully or partially collapsed lung. Symptoms include coughing, sharp chest pain or shortness of breath. Pleural drainage can be achieved by pleural tap, pleural intercostal drainage tube, VATS or thoracotomy depending upon the cause and duration.

Gastrointestinal Diseases – “My tummy hurts” — that’s something every parent hears. But if it seems like a child complains about stomach problems all the time, they may have a serious digestive disorder. These conditions have different causes but share many of the same symptoms such as Nausea, pain abdomen, Diarrhea, Vomiting and Dehydration (from diarrhoea and vomiting). The most common GI disease are acute gastroenteritis, celiac disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, constipation, lactose intolerance, food allergy, etc.

Liver Disease – Impairment in the function of the liver may lead to various abnormalities such as Jaundice, Cholestasis, Liver enlargement, Portal hypertension, Esophageal varices, Ascites. A fluid buildup in the abdominal cavity, Hepatic encephalopathy, Liver failure, Abnormal bleeding, Severe itching and Fatigue. It may occur due to several causes such as infectious, metabolic, autoimmune, obstructive and poisoning.

Hypothyroidism – When the thyroid gland doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone it’s called hypothyroidism. Congenital hypothyroidism is when the disorder is present in a baby at birth. If not treated, it can lead to serious health problems. The most common cause of congenital hypothyroidism is the failure of the thyroid gland to grow before birth. Sometimes the gland is present but doesn’t make the thyroid hormones.

Diabetes Ketoacidosis – Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a serious complication of relative insulin deficiency affecting primarily type-1 diabetes mellitus (DM). DKA is so named due to high levels of water-soluble ketone bodies (KBs), leading to an acidotic physiologic state. DKA could cause critical symptoms or occur secondarily to another illness. In newly diagnosed diabetic children, there may be a history of polydipsia, polyuria, weight loss, fatigue, lack of concentration, poor school performance, or recurrent infection. Abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting are also common.

Sick Patient management – Intubation and mechanical ventilation, Central line insertion ( Subclavian and femoral line), Pericardial Catheterisation, Pleural tap, Peritoneal dialysis, Status epilepticus, Acute severe asthma, Hepatic Encephalopathy, Lumbar Puncture, Umbilical vein catheterization, Myocarditis, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, High Flow Nasal Cannula.

Need to consult our paediatrician?

Call us today to book your appointment with one of the best paediatricians in Ranchi, Dr Ranjeet Kumar, Consultant paediatrician, at one of the best hospitals in Ranchi, Orchid Medical Centre.

Dr Ranjeet Kumar, Consultant Pediatrician, Orchid Medical Centre

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