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    9 Childhood Illnesses: Get the Facts


    Croup targets the windpipe and voice box. It is most often caused by viruses, and lasts for a week or less.


    • Usually starts with a sudden onset of barky cough and stridor, which gets worse at night 
    • Runny nose
    • Fever
    • Other cold-like symptoms

    Use a cool mist humidifier or run a hot shower, and sit with your child in the steamed-up bathroom for 10 minutes. "Breathing in moist air is always good," Edwards says.  

    Also if it is a cool, moist night take your child outside with a coat and hat and let her breathe in the night air.

    If your child is having trouble breathing, having noisy breathing, or not eating or drinking well, call 911 or go to the emergency room. Steroids, cool mist and breathing treatments are sometimes given to decrease airway swelling.

    Scarlet Fever

    This bacterial infection is caused by group A strep.  (It was once a deadly disease, but now it’s easily treatable.)


    • Sore throat
    • Scarlet-colored rash around the neck and face that may spread to the rest of the body.

    If your child has a sore throat and rash, call the doctor. If the strep test is positive, then it is important to treat it with a round of antibiotics to prevent rare but serious complications.


    This skin infection is most common in younger children. It starts when staph or strep bacteria gets in a cut, scratch, or bite.

    It can affect any area of the body but happens most often around the mouth, nose, and hands. Babies sometimes get the irritation in their diaper area.


    • Tiny blisters that burst. Fluid from the sores creates a crust that looks like a coat of honey.

    Touching or scratching the sores, which can be itchy, spreads impetigo to other parts of the body and to other people.

    An antibiotic ointment, and sometimes an oral antibiotic, can treat it.

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