7 Common childhood illnesses in Singapore

By: Osler Health International
Posted on: 30 Jan 2023

Are you a parent of a young child in Singapore? If so, it’s important that you are aware of the common childhood illnesses your child may face. It’s essential for parents to understand the various common childhood illnesses children may suffer from, and learn what to look out for. As a family doctor and general medicine clinic,  Osler Health has experience in childhood health in Singapore and how to keep your little one  safe. From typical symptoms to preventative measures (such as health screenings or childhood vaccinations) we have experience and expertise. 

1. Common cold

When your child is infected by the cold virus, they may complain of a sore throat, runny nose or cough. As the cold worsens, your child’s symptoms may include:

  • Watery mucus and sneezing
  • Watery or crusty eyes
  • Feelings of  exhaustion
  • Fever 
  • Reduced or no appetite
  • Headache

The common cold typically impacts your child’s sinuses, throat, bronchial tubes and ears, causing them to feel stuffed up. It may also result in diarrhoea and vomiting.  A common cold is classified as a viral illness, and so cannot be treated using antibiotics. However, there are many ways in which we can help manage symptoms in the interim. This can include pain relief such as paracetamol, plenty of fluids and saline nose spray to ease congestion. But if you find that your child’s common cold isn’t improving, bring them to a trusted family doctor at Osler Health for a health assessment.

2. Ear infections

Children often get ear infections in Singapore, especially as many are in and out of swimming pools. Infections can affect the outer or inner ear. Otitis externa is an infection of the lining of the ear canal found at the outer ear. It happens when water in the ear irritates the lining of the ear canal, which then results in a secondary bacterial or fungal infection. Otitis media is an infection of the middle ear behind the eardrum.

If your child has an outer-ear infection, they may have one or more of the following symptoms: 

  • Ear pain
  • Itching
  • Inability to hear clearly
  • A blocked ear
  • Ear discharge. 

Middle-ear infections’ symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea, which can lead to vomiting 
  • Your child may pull their ears or poke their fingers inside. Sometimes the eardrum may rupture and cause a thick or bloody ear discharge.

If you think your child has an ear infection, take them to a family doctor. The doctor may give them ear drops for an outer-ear infection. For a middle-ear infection, antibiotics and medicine for pain and fever are usually prescribed.

3. Bronchitis

Bronchitis is a common respiratory illness children encounter where the lining of the main airways in the lungs gets inflamed. This swelling limits the air supply to the lungs, causing difficulty in breathing.

Common symptoms include: 

  • Coughing 
  • Wheezing 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Runny nose
  • Fever
  • Muscle ache

Most treatments provided by doctors are designed to help ease symptoms such as fever, cough and runny nose medication. Respiratory illnesses are very common and the doctor can quickly assess and provide medication.

4. Influenza

Influenza (flu) is an illness that affects the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It is caused by viruses and often affects children more than adults. Children may show the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea

If your child has influenza, they need to rest and drink lots of fluids. Taking medicine for the symptoms of fever, sore throat, runny nose and cough may help make them feel better. Please see your family doctor if you are concerned.

5. Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis occurs when the membrane that covers the inside of the eyelids and eyeball becomes inflamed. It is also called “pink eye” because the eye looks pink or red. Conjunctivitis can be caused by an infection (either a virus or bacteria) or an allergic reaction. It is highly contagious if it is caused by an infection. 

When children develop conjunctivitis, they may have:

  • A red or pink eye
  • Redness behind the eyelid
  • Swollen and puffy eyelids
  • Tear up excessively
  • A yellow-green discharge that leads to crusting around the eyelids
  • An inability to withstand being around bright lights
  • A gritty feeling as if there is sand in the eye

If your child’s conjunctivitis does not improve after a few days, visit a general practitioner at a clinic for medicine/treatment. Your family doctor can identify what type of conjunctivitis your child has. For bacterial conjunctivitis, treatment is through antibiotic drops while the doctor may prescribe oral medicines or eye drops for allergic conjunctivitis

Protect your child’s health with the Osler Health team

Osler Health is dedicated to helping families keep their children healthy. Our general medicine clinic provides a spectrum of children’s health services tailored specifically to the needs of young patients, from routine childhood vaccinations to children’s health screenings and diagnosis and treatment of common childhood illnesses. With years of expertise, our family doctors are dedicated to providing a quality service with a warm and friendly attitude. Our services are designed to give concerned parents peace of mind, knowing their children are in good hands. All our doctors see children each day, we also have a specific children’s doctor based at Star Vista clinic – Dr Nicole Plesko. Contact us or make an appointment online today.

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