Common Child Health Issues and what to do


Allergies happen when your child’s immune system reacts to substances in the environment. This can be from food, medication, insect stings, dust mites (often found in clothes or blankets or bed mattresses), animals, or pollen. It’s important to see a healthcare provider immediately if you think your child has an allergic reaction.


If your child has asthma, they might have a whistling wheeze when breathing, be short of breath either during physical activity or while they’re resting, have a persistent dry cough, or cough during physical activity or at night. If you think your child has asthma, see your healthcare provider.


Children can get colds as often as once a month. The best treatment is usually fluids, comfort, and rest. If you’re worried that it’s something more serious than a cold, see your healthcare provider. Also, be mindful that antibiotics and home remedies sometimes won’t help cure this.

Food intolerances

Food intolerances are a reaction to a food you’ve eaten. Symptoms include bloating, diarrhea, and stomach pain, usually clear up by themselves or can get more serious or persistent. Talk to your healthcare provider if you think your child has a food intolerance.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is a mild, contagious viral infection common in young children. You can identify it by seeing sores in the mouth and a rash on the hands and feet of your child.

There’s no specific treatment for hand-foot-and-mouth disease but teaching your child the importance of frequent handwashing may help reduce their risk of infection. Contact your healthcare provider if symptoms worsen.


A wart is a small, flesh-coloured, raised growth. You mostly see them on children’s arms, hands, and legs. Warts are usually painless. See your healthcare provider if the wart is on your child’s face, feet, or genitals, or if the wart looks red, hot and is painful.


Children can get worms when they accidentally get worm eggs on their hands and swallow them. This might happen if they put their hands in their mouths or bite their nails after coming into contact with people with worms or with worm-infected dust, toys, or bed linen.

Most threadworm infections won’t cause any symptoms at all. But some children might have,

  • Itchiness around the bottom and/or vagina.
  • A bottom that looks red on lighter skin or brown, purple or grey on darker skin.
  • Loss of appetite.

Worms in children are easy to treat and usually aren’t serious. You can consult your healthcare provider or buy antiparasitic tablets which you can get over the counter from a pharmacy/clinic.  Since worm infestations are common in children, speak to your health care provider about de-worming your child, the signs of worms to look out for and how often you should de-worm you child.

Tips to help manage these common health issues

  • Keep up with post-natal visits and check-ups.
  • Immunisation can protect children against many potentially severe infectious diseases. Vaccines are one of the most effective and safest preventive care measures available.
  • Use medications only as needed, recommended, or prescribed.
  • Keep your child’s air clean. Second-hand and third-hand smoke can cause serious health risks to children.
  • Daily personal hygiene is important for children and anyone taking care of children. Brush your child’s teeth twice a day morning and night, and practice proper handwashing to protect yourself and your child.

Childhood infections spread easily. It’s important to be aware of common health issues that can present themselves in children, and take them for regular check-ups, including all their immunisations.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send a Facebook message or a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).