The 24 Most Common Childhood Illnesses

Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease, Pinkeye, Fifth Disease, Rotavirus, Kawasaki Disease, and Chickenpox

Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without written permission; Posted December 8, 2012

An early case of pinkeye; photo courtesy EvilQueenAcidBurn


Disclaimer: The author is not a doctor. This article is informational material only and does not constitute medical advice. Contact your physician for all medical conditions.

Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease can be painful. It manifests as a fever plus blisters on the palms of the child’s hands, on the inside of the mouth, the the surface of the buttocks, and on the foot’s soles of the.

It’s generally caused by coxsackievirus A16 in the U.S. A16 is a virus that tends to spread among kids during summer and early fall season. The majority of cases are not serious and end within a week to 10 days.


Technically called conjunctivitis, the symptoms of this condition is easy to identify—tearing, redness in the whites of the eye, itching, and crusty eyelashes.

Since it is generally caused by the same viruses as the common cold, the condition tends to spread quickly in day care facilities and schools. Consult with your doctor to find out whether your child needs treatment. In most cases, it will clear up within four to seven days.

Fifth Disease

No, this isn’t the result of too much math homework. It’s a condition also called the “slapped cheek” disease, and manifests as a bright red rash on a child’s face.

You might also notice a rash on the torso, arms, and/or legs. The cause is human parvovirus B19. This virus may cause mild cold-like symptoms before you notice the rash.

Interestingly, once you notice the rash, your child us probably past the contagious stage. As many as 20% of children contract Fifth by age 5; up to 60% have had it by age 19. Seven to 10 days is usually the duration of the rash.


Thankfully we now have an effective vaccine, but before that rotavirus was the number one culprit of diarrhea-related deaths in young children.

The predominant symptoms are vomiting and persistent, watery diarrhea. These two symptoms, as you might imagine, can make babies become dehydrated very quickly.

Today pharmaceutical researchers have developed two rotavirus vaccines for infants. Since they have been introduced, studies demonstrate a dramatic drop in the number of new cases.

Kawasaki Disease

No, this isn’t a motorcycle-induced condition. Kawasaki disease is an extremely rare and enigmatic condition. It almost always affects children below the age of 5. What are the symptoms?

They include redness on the hands and feet, a high fever, a patchy rash, swelling and bloodshot eyes, and chapped, red lips. If prompt treatment isn’t provided, the Kawasaki may damage the heart and may be fatal. Doctors don’t know what causes Kawasaki disease.


This itchy condition was once almost a childhood guarantee but chickenpox can now be prevented by administering the varicella vaccine. Why is it so important to get the vaccination?

Because chickenpox can be the cause dangerous and critical complications in newborns, adults, and pregnant women. Prior to the development of the vaccine, this condition sent 11,000 US citizens to the hospital every year.

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