As a parent, you’re no doubt familiar with common childhood ailments such as chicken pox, strep throat, and stomach upsets. You’re probably also very vigilant about avoiding accidents and broken bones during the rough and tumble of child play and exploration. However, there are also some slightly more unusual conditions that your child might experience. To help you out, here are three more unusual conditions to look out for in kids.
Meningitis is an infection of the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Although anyone can get it, children and babies are very susceptible as their immune systems are not yet fully developed. It can be very serious and possibly fatal if left untreated, resulting in brain and nerve damage and septicaemia; as such, it is important that you seek medical attention immediately if you suspect that your child has meningitis. Symptoms appear suddenly and can include a high temperature, dislike of bright lights, and a rash that does not fade when a glass is rolled over it, among others. Vaccinations are available for babies and children to help provide protection against certain forms of meningitis.
Though usually associated with people over the age of 65, cataracts can sometimes occur in children, and babies are sometimes born with cataracts. Possible causes of childhood cataracts can include genetic conditions such as Down’s syndrome, eye trauma following birth, and an infection such as rubella or chicken pox picked up by the mother during pregnancy. Symptoms of childhood cataracts can differ slightly to those found in older people; you may notice that your child has wobbling eyes and a squint, in addition to poor eyesight. Cataracts can be removed by a simple procedure in which the clouded lens is replaced with an artificial lens, such as a Panoptix trifocal lens, which will enable the child to focus clearly on both near and far objects. After this treatment, many children with childhood cataracts go on to live a full and normal life.
- Tics and other stress behaviors
Stress is a fact of life that is difficult for people to deal with whatever age they may be, and children are just as susceptible to stressful situations as adults. As they are not as well-equipped to recognize and cope with stressful situations as adults, this may lead to the child expressing their stress in physical and emotional outbursts. A tic, for instance, is a sudden, repetitive, non-rhythmic movement such as uncontrolled blinking or head banging. Although these may look alarming, and can cause severe damage if left unchecked, it’s important to remember that tics are a form of self-soothing behavior for the child. Try to distract your child from the behavior, instead showing them more appropriate ways to deal with the stress such as punching a punching bag. You should also of course try to identify the source of the stress and try to minimize it as much as possible.
There we have it – now you’re armed with the knowledge to protect against these three less-common conditions in childhood.