Sometimes your kids show unusual symptoms, and you don’t know where they came from. Find out if they are red flags for health problems that require immediate attention.
1. Frequent abdominal bloating and pain
Kids occassionally get tummy aches. But recurring pain and a distended stomach may indicate something more serious, especially if it is accompanied by a chronic diarrhea, pale and foul-smelling stool, gas, irritability, and unexplained anemia or low red-blood-cell count.
If your kids experience these, they may have celiac disease, the inability to absorb gluten, a protein found in some cereal grains. Consuming gluten leads to the destruction of the small hair-like things lining the inside of the small intestine, and may cause immediate vomiting.
If you suspect your kids of having this disease, keep a diary of their dietary habits and the symptoms they experience. Remove all foods containing gluten and check for progress. If the condition remains unchange, seek the help of a pediatric gastroenterologist.
2. Fever with blisters inside the mouth, on the palms, and on the soles of the feet
The symptoms are most likely due to hand, food, and mouth disease – not the same as foot and mouth disease that afflicts livestock. Despite the sores, which may appear on the buttocks as well, the disease is generally harmless for most kids. The infection, caused by enteroviruses, normally takes a week to 10 days to go away on its own.
3. Blister on the face, especially around the nose and mouth, and on hands and forearms
Impetigo is a skin infection that can occur anywhere on the body, but it frequently begins on the face. It is caused by one of two common types of bacteria. Group-A streptococcus triggers a rash of tiny blisters that erupt and leave behind red patches of skin that secrete fluid, which hardens into honey-colored crusts. If impetigo is caused by Staphylococcus aureaus, large blisters will develop, most likely remaining intact instead of busting. The fluid inside will transform from clear to cloudy.
If your kids show this symptoms, tell them not to touch the affected areas to prevent the spread of infection. Wash with a clean gauze, antiseptic soap, and warm water. See a doctor immediately. He or she may prescribe an antibiotic ointment, which is usually good enough.
4 Itchiness accompanied by tiny burrow tracks on the skin
The itching is often worse in the evenings, and the thin, irregular burrow tracks usually appear on the scalp, face, neck, palms, soles of feet, and in the folds of the skin – between the fingers, in the armpits, on the inner elbow, among others. When these are present, your kids probably have scabies, a contagious skin condition caused by a variety of mite that burrows under the skin. It is treatable, but your kids need to see the doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
5. Itchy, red scaly patches on the skin
It may appear raised, with the outer edges sharply defined and darker than the inside, creating a ring-like impression; hence, the name ringworm. More common in children, ringworm is a contagious skin disorder caused by a fungus, not a worm. It is typically passed on from infected petes and contaminated objects, like combs, unwashed clothes, and shower surfaces.
The doctor can tell if the skin problem your kids have is due to ringworm, which normally goes away with the use of an antifungal cream or ointment.
6. Frequent difficulty swallowing, possibly accompanied by pain near the heart
When the digestive juices and the food in the stomach rise up to the esophagus – sometimes you can taste your meal at the back of your throat – gastroesophageal reflux (GER) may be occurring. We all have experienced it occasionally. For others, it’s a chronic condition that happens at least twice a week, making it a serious disease. The hallmark of GER disease is heartburn or pain behind the breastbone, in the lower part of the mid-chest, or in the middle of the abdomen. In children under 12, more common manifestations include trouble swallowing, nausea, cough, asthma-like wheezing, and repeated regurgitation.
Obesity is a risk factor. If you think your kids have GERD, bring them to a doctor. Your kids will also have to reduce their meal size, and avoid caffeinated soda, chocolates, and foods athat are spicy, acidic, fried, or fatty.
7. Motor or vocal tics
Motor tics are repetitive involuntary muscle twitches, such as blinking, grimacing, and jerking of the head. Vocal tics, meanwhile, are repetitive and purposeless expressions like grunting, coughing, barking and repeating words that are heard.
People with tics can’t help themselves, and they are often ridiculed. One of the disorders associated with this condition is Tourette’s syndrome. Kids with Tourette’s may experience mild, simple tics briefly or develop complex tics that involve various muscle groups or longer phrases. The tics occur multiple times practically each day, and sometimes they can go into remission. They are worst at age 11 or 12. Unfortunately, the syndrome incerases the risk for emotional problems, anxiety disorder, learning disorders, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
A pediatric psychologist or psychiatrist may help your kids cope with this syndrome.
8. Swelling and stiffness of the joints
If your kids have not sustained any physical injury and yet they experience these symptoms, they may have arthritis. It sounds unlikely, but juvenile rheumatoid arthritis affects a significant number of people 16 yeasrs old and below. The onset of this disease may be subtle or obvious, and the symptoms may come and go. Early signs usually include limping in the morning, and sore wrist, finger, or knee. Joints may swell, stiffness may settle around the neck and hips, and rashes may appear on and off. There may be high fevers that peak in the evenings and subside the next day.
Discuss this problem with the pediatrician, who may recommend medicines and physical therapy.
9. Patchy loss of hair
You’ve changed your kids’ shampoo, but the bald spot on their scalp still persists. The nature of the problem is probably immunological. When white blood cells go haywire and attack hair follicles, alopecia areata occurs. It is a condition more common in children than in adults. In most cases, it goes away in a few months to a year, and normal hair growth resumes. In the meantime, a pediatrician dermatologist may perform a patch test and , depending on a patient’s age and extent of the condition, recommend a steroid injection.
10. Frequent bedwetting
Your kids have never wetted their beds since they were toddlesrs, until now. They have also been unusually thristy of late, leading you to speculate that they had too many fluids before sleep time. The solution to the problem becomes pretty obvious – make your kids drink less before bedtime, or send them to the bathroom before going to bed.
But first, check if your children are exhibiting thses symptoms: constant fatigue or irritability, persistent hunger despite a full meal, decreased academic performance, or weight loss for no apparent reason. If an y or some of these are present, bring your kids to a pediatrician right away.
Your kids may have type 2 diabetes, a metabolic disorder where the body cannot produce enough insulin to control blood sugar levels. It is no longer considered an adult-onset disease. A diet high in fats and carbohydrates, coupled with sedentary lifestyle spent mostly in front of the TV or computer, has resulted in a growing number of children who are diagnosed with the disease around the world.