Common Childhood Diseases

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  • 0:04 Childhood Diseases
  • 0:54 Chickenpox
  • 1:29 Pink Eye
  • 2:06 Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease
  • 2:34 Pinworm & Gastroenteritis
  • 3:55 Lesson Summary
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Instructor: Amanda Robb

Amanda holds a Masters in Science from Tufts Medical School in Cellular and Molecular Physiology. She has taught high school Biology and Physics for 8 years.

In this lesson, we'll review the signs and symptoms of some of the most common childhood diseases. Although we won't have time to review every childhood disease, we'll go over chickenpox, pink eye, hand-foot-and-mouth disease, pinworms, and gastroenteritis.

Childhood Diseases

You're in your bed, cozy with lots of blankets and pillows. But then, you wake to the sound of your baby crying in the next room. You pick her up to soothe her but she keeps crying. Her face feels warm to the touch. She doesn't appear to be hungry or wet. When you look closer, her skin is bumpy and red, not smooth like usual.

As a concerned parent you stay with her throughout the night, rocking her to sleep. In the morning, you take her to the pediatrician, wanting to find out which childhood illness your daughter has fallen victim to. Although unsettling, this scene is common for babies all over the world, and many childhood diseases need little more than rest, fluids, and some tender love and care.

Let's take a look at five of the most common illnesses that affect children.


It starts with an itch. As you mindlessly scratch, you look down and see a red dot on your arm. Maybe a few more on your stomach. The itchiness is relentless. It seems you might have come down with the chickenpox. Chickenpox is caused by the varicella virus and causes itchy, red sores that appear all over the body. It's also highly contagious. The virus comes with a fever and flu-like symptoms in addition to the itchy blisters. Many people today get the vaccine, but without it, most people's symptoms usually go away over a week or so with no medical intervention.

Pink Eye

Cute little eyes stare up at you at the daycare, but as you look down, you notice that one of the eyes is pink. Get your hand sanitizer ready! Little fingers will probably rub the pink eye and then touch everything else in sight.

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is an infection of the membrane that covers the eyelid. When the eye gets irritated, the blood vessels get bigger and the eye appears pink. It's caused by both viruses and bacteria and is extremely contagious. Most cases clear up in a week, but doctors might prescribe antibiotics if it's a bacterial infection or eye drops to ease the inflammation.

Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease

As the name of this disease suggests, babies frequently put their hands and feet in their mouth. This can transmit viruses, usually the coxsackievirus, that cause fever, chills, and painful sores in the mouth during a bout of hand-foot-and-mouth disease. Children also get a rash on their hands and feet. Like other childhood illnesses mentioned here, the viruses usually resolve on their own. However, one should see a doctor if an affected child isn't drinking due to a sore throat or blisters.

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