5 Most Common Illnesses in Children

One of the most stressful times parents can face when raising children is dealing with a little one getting sick.

There are all kinds of illnesses that can affect a child, but some are more common than others. Luckily, while caring for a sick child definitely isn’t fun, most common childhood illnesses aren’t too serious.

children's tylenol

That being said, knowing about the most common childhood illnesses can help you to recognize the signs and get the proper treatment for your little one.

These are the five most common illnesses in children that parents should be aware of:

Common Cold

Almost everyone has to deal with the common cold at least once or twice during the year. The common cold is caused by any number of viruses that affects the upper respiratory tract.

Cases of the common cold increase during the wintertime, because spending more time indoors allows the virus to pass from person to person more easily.

If your child has a cold, symptoms may include fever, tiredness, sore throat, loss of appetite, and a stuffy nose. You may want to check if your child has a high temperature by using a child fever temperature chart in Australia.

Symptoms usually last between 3 to 7 days. Although there is no cure for a common cold, you can use natural cough syrups or other over-the-counter products to treat sore throat and congestion.

Ear Infections

Ear infections are surprisingly common in children. Children below the age of 10 are much more prone to getting infections than teenagers or adults.

This is thought to be because the body allocates its resources to growth and development over immune function at certain stages of a child’s life.

The common symptoms of an ear infection include ear pain, fever, discharge from the ear, lethargy, or difficulty sleeping.

Doctors will usually prescribe antibiotics, such as amoxicillin, which should help to clear up the ear infection within 7 to 10 days.



Commonly known as pink eye, conjunctivitis symptoms include redness in one or both of the eyes, itchiness or swelling in the eyes, and a crusty discharge from one or both eyes.

Almost all cases of conjunctivitis are caused by a virus, but bacterial or allergic infections can occur as well.

Depending on the cause of the condition, doctors may prescribe antibiotics or special eye drops for your child to clear the infection and reduce symptoms.

Conjunctivitis is very contagious, so being diligent about hygiene while treating the infection is especially important.


Acute bronchitis is a condition that can affect both adults and children, but often occurs more often in children under 2, or between 9-15 years of age.

Bronchitis often develops after a previous respiratory tract infection, so keeping an eye out for symptoms after a cold or flu is imporant.

Common symptoms of bronchitis include persistent coughing, soreness in the chest, fatigue, and sore throat.

Bronchitis generally goes away on its own without any treatment. Ensure your child gets plenty of fluids and rest, and ask your doctor about OTC products to relieve symptoms if necessary.


Generally referred to as the flu, influenza is a contagious virus that’s easily spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue, body aches, headache, or chills. Children especially may also experience nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Most children recover from the flu in about a week. Medication to reduce fever and pain may be helpful, but plenty of rest is the best treatment.

Getting your child an annual flu vaccine may prevent influenza and minimize symptoms of cases they do develop.


While there are many common illnesses in children, these five are ones that almost every parent will have to deal with at one point or another.

Recognizing the symptoms so you can treat the illness appropriately can help your little one feel better faster. And when in doubt, consulting your doctor is always a good decision!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *