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Common childhood illnesses: colds, chicken pox and conjunctivitis

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It’s that time of year again where most children, and even adults, are likely to catch an illness that is doing the rounds.  Children are more susceptible to illnesses as their immune systems are weaker.  Often this is not a bad thing as catching and fighting illness will allow their immune systems to build resistance and mature, making it stronger as they grow.

While many parents may feel the need to go to the doctors for every ailment, this isn’t always necessary.  Many childhood illnesses can be treated at home with the assistance of a local chemist or an online pharmacy.

Here are three common childhood illnesses we have recently experienced that can be treated at home:

(Of course if you have any major concerns or symptoms worsen, it’s always best to consult a medical professional)


Earlier this year I had a phone call from Reuben’s nursery asking me to collect him.  He’d had a nap, but had woken up with his eyes stuck together and full of goo.  He had conjunctivitis and it had sprung out of nowhere.  There was no build up, just bam! – loads of goo at once.  Poor thing.  Conjunctivitis is highly contagious so I was to pick him up immediately and not return him until it had cleared.  I’ve experienced it myself as both an adult and child, so knew exactly what it was.  It certainly makes you feel groggy having goo all round your eyes and it crusting up and sticking your eyes together when you sleep!
Treatment isn’t usually needed as it can clear itself up in a couple of weeks, however in severe cases, antibiotic eye drops like these from Chemist4U can be used to clear up the infection.  We were lucky to not need treatment for Reuben and just kept the eyes clear and clean with cooled down boiled water and cotton pads.  

Related read: The 5 Most Important Things to Have in Your First Aid Box

Chicken pox

We are currently experiencing chicken pox for the first time with Bella, age 5.  It did the rounds for her cousins and friends when she was a toddler, but she never caught it.  Now it’s going through the infants at her school so it was only a matter of time before she caught this common childhood illness.
I remember having chicken pox as a child and being covered in camomile lotion!  I had them so bad I still have three scars in the middle of my forehead that are clear to see.
Bella started with one spot in the morning on her belly which I thought may be a bite.  She went to school and when she came home she had around 10 spots on her belly!  I then knew it was chicken pox.  By the evening they were on her face, neck,, back, arms and legs.  We could do dot to dot on her there were so many!
Bella felt pretty miserable for two days when the spots first appeared and spent most of her time sleeping.  On day two the spots were blistering and one even began to scab over.  Once they are all scabbed over she can return to school.  The first couple of nights were awful as the spots were irritating her so much she barely slept and kept me awake all night.  She tossed and turned and kicked about as they were bothering her.  I purchased Virasoothe to try and calm the irritation and soothe any itchiness.  When she was feeling really grotty, moany and hot to touch we gave paracetamol.  It’s not recommended to give any ibuprofen for chicken pox as it can make the person even worse.
It’s now day four and half of them have scabs.  I guess one or two more days and she can return to school.  She’s now playing normally and seems like her usual self, so it’s just a case of waiting for all the spots to scab which means she’s no longer contagious.
It’s good to get chicken pox as a child as once you’ve had it once you are usually immune for life.


From my internet research, many articles suggest it’s common for children to have between five and eight colds per year, wow!  That seems like an awful lot, but I’m sure we do experience that with both children.  Symptoms include a runny nose, sneezing, high temperature and feeling grotty.  We’ll use paracetamol to bring any temperature down, but otherwise we just let the cold play out and ensure they have plenty of rest if they’re not their usual self.
The best thing is prevention rather than cure.  Plenty of fresh fruit and veg each day and minimal added refined sugar.  The children share my homemade fruit and vegetable morning smoothie with natural superfood green powder to top up their vitamin and mineral intake every day.  This means even if they catch a cold, their bodies are well equipped to fight it off quickly and stop it lingering for weeks.

Childhood illnesses are not pleasant for the children or parents, but luckily most of them can be treated at home and clear up quickly.  Hopefully they’ll build strong immune systems for a better chance of fighting off and avoiding illness as they grow older.