Jump to:  A   |   B   |   C   |   D   |   E   |   F   |   G   |   H   |   I   |   J   |   K   |   L   |   M   |   N   |   O   |   P   |   Q   |   R   |   S   |   T   |   U   |   V   |   W   |   X   |   Y

Kids' Health Concerns Ease with Age

Your child is coughing and has a fever—again. You begin to worry: Didn't they just get over a cold?

When children are young, it's normal for them to have a variety of childhood illnesses and problems. Most go away as the child gets older. Here are some common health hurdles and advice when you can expect your child's condition to improve.

Frequent colds

Young children tend to get  six to eight colds per year. The reason: Kids come into the world with no immunity to the 200 or so rhinoviruses that cause the common cold. Immunity develops only after infection.

Ear infections

Why do infants and toddlers get ear infections more frequently? Blame it on the eustachian tube, a tiny passage between the middle ear and the back of the nose (nasopharynx). It is supposed to drain and ventilate the middle ear. When an adult stands, the eustachian tube is angled upward from the throat to the ear. This allows gravity to pull fluid downward toward the throat and discourages fluids in the throat from moving upward toward the middle ear. When a child stands, the eustachian tube is shorter, more narrow, and almost horizontal (flat). Fluid doesn't drain with the aid of gravity. If a child has a cold, there is swelling of the Eustachian tube, and drainage is decreased even more, which can cause increased ear infections. Expect improvement when the eustachian tube is fully developed by age 6.


The tonsils, two symmetrical masses of lymph tissue in the back of the throat, are part of the immune system and work to combat infections in young children. Unfortunately, they frequently become infected themselves. Streptococcal infections are the most common bacterial infection of the tonsils, and are commonly called strep throat. These bacteria, however, make up 15 to 30 percent of all cases of tonsillitis or sore throats; most cases are caused by viruses.

Strep throat responds well and quickly to antibiotics. Viral tonsillitis or sore throat (pharyngitis) does not respond to antibiotics and must run its course.

Removal of the tonsils (tonsillectomy) is not recommended as frequently as in years past, but doctors may still recommend it if tonsillitis has been a recurring problem for several years. It is also recommended if the tonsils are so large that they interfere with breathing, particularly while sleeping.

As your child ages, the tonsils usually begin to shrink, their function as disease fighters declines, and infections become less frequent.


Bed-wetting (also called enuresis) is common. It is frustrating for both parent and child and can lead to a loss of self-esteem. It may affect social interactions, especially when the child reaches the age where sleepovers are common. Fortunately, many commercial products are available to help with this problem. Relatively effective medications are available by prescription for cases that do not respond to a child’s increasing age. It is very important to have your child evaluated by a pediatrician if bed-wetting occurs on a regular basis.

These are possible causes for bed-wetting:

  • Genetics. Bed-wetting can run in families.

  • Deep sleep. Some children have difficulty waking up to use the bathroom.

  • Developmental delay. A slower development of the link between the central nervous system and the bladder can lead to bed-wetting. This link stops the bladder from emptying at night.

  • Hormonal problems. The antidiuretic hormone controls the amount of urine the kidneys make. If production of this hormone is out-of-cycle, bed-wetting can occur.

  • Urinary tract infections

  • Structural abnormalities in the urinary tract

  • Stress

Children's bladder control increases as they get older. Expect improvement by age 6.


Rashes are common in children. Fortunately, most rashes are not associated with serious illness.

Common infectious childhood rashes, such as measles, rubella, and chicken pox have almost disappeared thanks to immunizations.

Infectious rashes that are still common and for which there are no vaccines include hand-foot-and-mouth disease (not the same as hoof-and-mouth disease in cattle), roseola, and erythema infectiosum (also called fifths disease or slapped cheek disease).

Noninfectious rashes of childhood that are common include eczema, infant cradle cap, and contact dermatitis. Diaper rashes are common and may be due to irritation by the diaper or a type of fungal infection called Candida albicans. Today's diapers are better at keeping a baby's skin dry and healthy, but rashes are still common. 

So the next time your child comes down with an ear infection, cold, or rash, remember that you should see these illnesses a little less with each passing year.

Reviewed Date: 07-01-2013

Find a pediatrician
Health Tips
2-Year-Olds: Terrible or Terrific?
A Primer for Preschooler Safety
Bed-Wetting: Help Your Child Stay Dry at Night
Growing Up Short or Heavy Can Be Difficult
Helping Children Conquer Fear
How Old Is 'Old Enough' for Contacts?
How to Prevent Childhood Obesity
Tips to Lower Toddlers’ Choking Risks
Understanding Tonsillitis
What Kids Drink Is Important, Too
When Your Child Says, 'I'm Sick'
Tonsils and Adenoids Quiz
Diseases & Conditions
AIDS/HIV in Children
Airway Obstruction Overview
Anatomy of a Child's Brain
Anatomy of the Endocrine System in Children
Anxiety Disorders in Children
Asthma and Children
Asthma in Children Index
Bicycle, In-Line Skating, Skateboarding Safety--Injury Statistics and Incidence Rates
Bipolar Disorder in Children
Bone Marrow Transplantation in Children
Brain Tumors in Children
Chemotherapy for Children: Side Effects
Common Childhood Nose and Throat Illnesses
Diphtheria in Children
During an Asthma Attack
Ewing Sarcoma
Hepatitis B (HBV) in Children
Home Page - Burns
Inflammatory and Infectious Musculoskeletal Disorders
Inflammatory and Infectious Neurological Disorders
Inguinal Hernia in Children
Insect Bites and Children
Kidney Transplantation in Children
Meningitis in Children
Mood Disorders in Children and Adolescents
Muscular Dystrophy
Myasthenia Gravis in Children
Osteosarcoma in Children
Pediatric Blood Disorders
Pharyngitis and Tonsillitis in Children
Poliomyelitis (Polio) in Children
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Children
Preparing the Preschooler for Surgery
Preparing the School-Aged Child for Surgery
Preparing the Toddler for Surgery
Preschooler Nutrition
Schizophrenia in Children
School-Aged Child Nutrition
Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis
Sports Safety for Children
Superficial Injuries Overview
Television and Children
The Growing Child: 2-Year-Olds
The Growing Child: Preschool (4 to 5 Years)
The Heart
The Kidneys
Toddler Nutrition
Urinary Incontinence
Vision Overview
Whooping Cough (Pertussis)

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.