As a parent, it can be difficult to know when your child is experiencing one of the many childhood illnesses they will get throughout their growing up years or if it is something more concerning. When there is a bigger issue at hand, you might need to provide your child with more in-depth care. Here are three common health issues that begin in childhood and typically require medical intervention to navigate.
Food allergies are common in childhood. In fact, 1 in 13 children in the United States has a significant food allergy. Food allergies are marked by specific and recurrent immune responses when certain foods are eaten. This immune response can vary between more mild symptoms such as hives to life-threatening anaphylaxis. Eight foods have been identified as the most allergenic. These are milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, wheat, soy, peanuts, and tree nuts. If you suspect that your child has a food allergy, have them seen by an allergist. Allergic reactions can worsen with multiple exposures and even create a life-threatening situation. While children can occasionally outgrow a food allergy, there is no cure. The only treatment is complete avoidance of the allergen.
Anxiety and Depression
Contrary to common belief, mental illness is not an adult-only issue. Half of all mental illness starts at 14 years old. This is a huge concern because anxiety and depression can have devastating, debilitating consequences. They affect everything from the child’s ability to learn to how they feel about themselves. Anxiety and depression can also impact a child’s physical health. Depression can even be life-threatening. Tragically, the third most common cause of teenage death is suicide. All kids experience times of sadness, worry, and anxiety. However, get your child help if they exhibit signs of a serious issue. For anxiety, watch out for frequent panic attacks, insomnia, or stomachaches. Signs of depression include near-constant sadness, disinterest in activities they used to enjoy, changing eating or sleep patterns, sluggishness, and self-harm.
1 in 12 children in the United States has asthma. Asthma can cause permanent damage to the lungs if not managed. It can even be life-threatening. Luckily, thanks to increased intervention, the number of asthma-related hospitalizations has significantly decreased over the years. If you suspect that your child has asthma, work with their doctor to create an asthma action plan.
As a parent or guardian, you are your child’s best advocate. You are also the person who knows your child best. If something feels off, listen to those feelings. Most childhood illnesses can be cured or significantly helped with early intervention.
Check out this article on how to get your kids to take care of their health!