Childhood Medical Conditions
Medical conditions affecting children are of course the major health care concern for parents. While it's clearly unproductive for Moms and Dads to worry excessively about their children developing medical problems, they should have an idea of what constitutes potential symptoms and when they should take their child to see the pediatrician. If chronic medical conditions such as Type 1 Diabetes run in your family, then you need to be very aware of the signs and be ready to seek help from your health care provider.
Common Childhood Medical Conditions
Just like adults, children can have medical problems with any part of their bodies, so it's not really possible to draw up a definitive list of medical issues that are "common" for all kids. Of course, children's immune systems are still developing and are not as resilient as those of adults, so infections, colds, and bouts of illness are certainly common throughout the childhood years. But these are not the same thing as a medical condition which persists for significant periods of time, in some cases even for life. Let's have a look at just a few of the medical conditions which regularly affect children...
Asthma - this condition is becoming more and more common in kids, perhaps due to pollution, or to our modern Western lifestyle. Basically it's a chronic inflammatory disease affecting the airways, making it difficult for the patient to breathe from time to time. Asthma can be treated with medication. Some cases can be very severe, but many children "grow out" of having serious asthma attacks as they get older.
Allergies - allergies to foods and medications also appear to be on the rise among kids. In the most severe cases, kids with allergies can go into anaphylactic shock if they come into contact with a foodstuff (often peanuts or eggs) that gives them a reaction. This is a very serious condition which needs to be treated with an emergency injection and perhaps hospitalization. Most allergies in children, however, are much less severe.
Middle ear infections - many kids suffer from repeated middle ear infections between the ages of 6 months and 2 years (but some kids continue to suffer for years afterwards). This causes fluid to build up inside the ear and gives the child a lot of pain and temporarily decreased hearing. Treatment is relatively simple, but as mentioned before, the infections do have a tendency to come back. It's important that such infections are treated properly, because too many of them may cause a more permanent reduction in hearing, which can impede language development in kids.
For child medical advice related to the specific health care issues of your child, your pediatrician should always be your first port of call. The internet is a great source of general advice, but only your own doctor can examine your child and accurately diagnose a problem.
Medical Research And Children
Medical research conducted on children is one of the most controversial ethical issues in health care today. Unlike adults who participate in medical trials, children may be unable to understand or fully give their consent to taking part in tests for a new drug or treatment. As a child's guardians, his parents are ultimately responsible for deciding for him whether or not to join a medical trial. Many parents are understandably reluctant to do so because they don't know exactly what influence, if any, the research may have on the child's future development.
So what would persuade some parents to "cross this boundary" so to speak, and put their child right in the middle of one of the most difficult ethical issues in medicine? Well, in some cases in which children are sadly terminally ill with cancer or a rare genetic disease, for example, parents are willing to try a new drug or surgical procedure which may be a last ditch attempt to save a child's life. Thankfully, most of us will never have to encounter life and death issues of this nature when it comes to child care and health care.