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Common childhood illnesses <span></span><h2 class="sectHeading">Diarrhoea</h2>​​<b>What is it?</b> <p>Diarrhoea is a viral infection that often affects children in areas with poor hygiene and sanitation. Children are most affected during the summer months.</p><p> <b>What are the symptoms?</b></p><ul><li>Vomiting</li><li>Loose, watery stools (runny stomach)</li><li>Lethargy (low energy)</li><li>Dehydration – passing little urine, dry mouth, few tears when crying, sunken eyes and weakness</li><li>Severe dehydration – drowsiness, pale/mottled skin, cold hands or feet, dry nappies, fast and shallow breathing</li></ul><div class="notification with-heading dark-copy pink bg-light-grey"><div class="graphic with-border"> <i class="info note"></i> </div><div class="desc"><h4>Please note</h4><p>If you think your child has severe dehydration, don’t wait in the queue at the clinic – rather go straight to the front.</p></div></div> <b>What should I do?</b> <p>The most important thing is to keep your child hydrated. Every time your child vomits or their stomach runs they lose fluids and salts, and can become dehydrated.</p><p>Give your child water or prepare a sugar salt solution (SSS). You can find a recipe in your <a href="https://www.westerncape.gov.za/general-publication/road-health-card" target="_blank">Road To Health Booklet (RTHB)<i class="icon link-external"></i></a>. You can also give them breast milk, thin soup or very thin porridge – but feed it to them a little at a time. If they vomit, wait five minutes and try again.</p><div class="notification with-heading dark-copy pink bg-light-grey"><div class="graphic with-border"> <i class="info remember"></i> </div><div class="desc"><h4>Remember</h4><p>Don’t give them an enema as this can make the dehydration worse.</p></div></div><h2 class="sectHeading">Malnutrition</h2>​<b>What is it?</b> <p>Children who don’t get enough food or vitamins and minerals may become malnourished. Malnutrition can also be caused by diarrhoea or worms.</p><p> <b>What are the symptoms?</b></p><ul><li>Unexplained weight loss</li><li>Not growing properly</li><li>Tiredness and lack of energy</li><li>Struggling to concentrate and keep warm</li><li>Grumpy or irritable behaviour</li></ul> <b>What should I do?</b> <p>Visit your <span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">nearest </span> <a href="https://www.capetown.gov.za/Family%20and%20home/See-all-City-facilities/Our-service-facilities/Clinics%20and%20healthcare%20facilities">healthcare clinic</a> where you’ll get advice and support on how to improve your child’s diet and nutrient intake. You may also be given supplements to help with the malnutrition.</p><p>To find out more about how to identify and treat malnutrition, please see our <a href="https://www.capetown.gov.za/Family%20and%20home/Personal-health/Nutritional-health/Malnutrition"> <span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0"> <span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-3">Malnutrition section</span>.</span></a></p><h2 class="sectHeading">Meningitis</h2> <b>What is it?</b> <p>Meningitis is a serious viral infection that affects the brain.</p><p> <b>What are the symptoms?</b></p><ul><li>Very high fever</li><li>Stiff neck</li><li>Vomiting</li><li>Headaches</li><li>Loss of appetite</li><li>Convulsions</li><li>Lethargy (low energy)</li><li>Sleepiness and/or confusion</li></ul> <b>What should I do?</b> <p>Give your child medication to bring it's temperature down and take the child to <span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">your </span> <span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">nearest <a href="https://www.capetown.gov.za/Family%20and%20home/See-all-City-facilities/Our-service-facilities/Clinics%20and%20healthcare%20facilities">clinic</a> </span>or <a href="https://www.westerncape.gov.za/dept/health/facilities" target="_blank">hospital<i class="icon link-external"></i></a> immediately. </p><h2 class="sectHeading">Asthma</h2> <b>What is it?</b> <p>Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the airways that is caused by an allergy.</p><p> <b>What are the symptoms?</b></p><ul><li>Coughing</li><li>Wheezing</li><li>Tightness of the chest</li><li>Difficulty breathing (often at night)</li></ul> <b>What should I do?</b> <p>Asthma cannot be cured, but it can be managed by taking regular medication. Our clinic staff will provide advice on how to manage asthma at home. <span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">Find a <a href="https://www.capetown.gov.za/Family%20and%20home/See-all-City-facilities/Our-service-facilities/Clinics%20and%20healthcare%20facilities">City clinic</a> near you. </span></p><h2 class="sectHeading">Tuberculosis (TB)</h2>​​ <b>What is it?</b> <p>Tuberculosis (TB) is bacterial disease that affects the lungs. </p><p> <b>What are the symptoms?</b></p><ul><li>Prolonged coughing</li><li>Chest pain</li><li>Night sweats</li><li>Loss of appetite and weight loss</li><li>Lack of energy (fatigue)</li></ul> <b>What should I do?</b> <p> <span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">If your child has been in contact with someone with TB, take them to a <a href="https://www.capetown.gov.za/Family%20and%20home/See-all-City-facilities/Our-service-facilities/Clinics%20and%20healthcare%20facilities" target="_blank"> clinic</a> to be screened. If they have TB, we will provide them with medication. If they haven’t, we will give them medication to prevent infection.</span></p><p>TB is curable, but you must complete the full course of medication, even if you feel better.</p><div class="notification with-heading dark-copy pink bg-light-grey"><div class="graphic with-border"> <i class="info note"></i> </div><div class="desc"><h4>Please note</h4><p>There is no charge for TB tests, and the best protection against TB is the BCG vaccine.</p></div></div><p> <span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0"> Find out more about TB and how to treat it by reading <a href="https://www.capetown.gov.za/local%20and%20communities/Community-health-and-safety/Contagious-and-chronic-diseases/Tb">Tuberculosis (TB)</a>.</span></p><h2 class="sectHeading">Pneumonia</h2><b>What is it?</b> <p>Pneumonia is a severe lung infection.</p><p> <b>What are the symptoms?</b></p><ul><li>Coughing up green or yellow phlegm</li><li>High fever</li><li>Shakes and chills</li><li>Difficulty breathing or fast breathing</li><li>Chest pain</li><li>Infants may become sleepy and lethargic</li></ul> <b>What should I do?</b>​ <p>Most cases of pneumonia can be treated at home with antibiotics and plenty of rest and fluids. More serious cases may require hospitalisation.</p>GP0|#4732e6bb-b181-4280-90fc-1e770df78fba;L0|#04732e6bb-b181-4280-90fc-1e770df78fba|Common childhood illnesses;GTSet|#ef3a64a2-d764-44bc-9d69-3a63d3fadea1;GPP|#e191a0d6-26c0-4f61-a521-0a26adc8ad68;GPP|#063a6668-d6cb-4c45-adaf-f559697b85fd;GPP|#245ec7aa-a528-4cd3-bcac-597c292db711A guide to common childhood illnesses and what you can do to treat them. 

 

 

 

 

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