Banner Health
Making healthcare easier

Common Pediatric Illnesses

As your child grows up, they will get sick sometimes. This happens more to kids because their immune systems are still growing and they are around many germs at daycare and school.

Most kids have around six to eight colds in a year, along with other illnesses. Here are some of the most common illnesses your child might have as they grow.

Common cold

The common cold is caused by germs (viruses) like the rhinovirus. These viruses spread easily in places people have close contact, like schools. Symptoms include a runny or stuffy nose, headaches and a general feeling of being unwell.

Learn more about the common cold, its signs and how to manage it.


Croup is an upper airway infection that makes breathing harder. This happens when the airway, which includes the voice box (larynx) and windpipe (trachea), gets swollen.

Croup mostly affects babies and young children. It starts with cold-like symptoms but turns into a cough that sounds like a seal or barking dog. Breathing might sound noisy or wheezy, especially when they inhale.

Learn more about croup, its symptoms and ways to manage it.

Ear infection

An ear infection happens when fluid containing bacteria or viruses gets stuck in the ear. This usually happens after another sickness (like colds, flu or allergies) that makes the nose, throat and tubes in the ear swell up.

If your child has an ear infection, you might see them pulling at their ear, being fussy or having trouble hearing. They could also have balance problems, fluid coming out of the ear, a fever or issues sleeping.

Learn more about ear infections, their symptoms and ways to manage them.

Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFM)

Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFM) is a common viral infection among children aged 6 months to 4 years. It is caused by a group of viruses called enteroviruses. The main one is the coxsackie virus.

This infection gives kids fever and small spots or blisters on hands, feet and inside mouths. It spreads through contact with an infected person’s saliva or fluid from blisters and sometimes through respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing.

Learn more about HFM, its symptoms and how to manage it.

Pink eye (conjunctivitis)

Pink eye is an eye infection affecting the white part of the eye and inner eyelid. It is often caused by bacteria, viruses and allergies.

Symptoms include the telltale red or pink color that gives pink eye its name, itching, watery eyes and gooey eye discharge. While it’s very contagious, pink eye is usually not serious.

Learn more about pink eye, its symptoms and how to manage it.

When to take your child to their health care provider or ER

If your child’s symptoms are mild and your child is still eating, drinking and doing their usual activities, a call or visit to your child’s health care provider is usually not needed. In most cases, these common illnesses should clear up within a few days.

However, trust your gut as a parent. If you’re worried about your child’s well-being, it’s better to be careful and get help quickly.

You should call or take your child to their health care provider if your child has any of the following conditions:

  • Colds and coughs that have not gone away within a few days
  • Earaches
  • Allergies
  • Severe sore throat and other signs of strep throat
  • Rashes or mild skin infections
  • Painful urination

You should go to the emergency room (ER) or call 911 if your child:

  • Is under 2 months of age with a fever of 100.4°F or higher
  • Has trouble breathing or breathes heavy and fast
  • Is choking
  • Has a serious allergic reaction
  • Suddenly has sharp stomach pain that isn’t going away
  • Vomits blood or has bloody stool
  • Throws up a lot
  • Looks dehydrated
  • Passes out
  • Suddenly acts differently, is hard to wake up or confused, has seizures, headaches or a stiff neck, or trouble speaking, seeing, walking or moving
  • Has serious injuries like big cuts, broken or sprained bones or joints or bad burns
  • Hurts their head or spine
  • Swallows something poisonous

Banner Children’s caring staff is here to help treat, diagnose and guide you through every phase of your child’s life. If your child is experiencing any of these common illnesses, give us a call.