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Common childhood illnesses

Being prepared and knowing the signs

Parents are usually good at noticing when something is wrong with their baby from quite early on. It is normal to worry that you won’t recognise the signs that your baby is unwell. Trust your instincts, you know your baby best. Learn how to spot the signs of serious illness and how to cope if an accident happens.

Asthma - is a long-term condition that can be well controlled in most children.

Chickenpox - is a mild disease that most children catch at some point. If you are sure it is chickenpox you do not need to go to your doctor unless your child is very unwell.

Coughs and Colds - Most bugs will run their course without doing any real harm because they are viruses which get better on their own, however there are things you can do at home to help.

Ear Problems - Babies may develop some sort of ear problem at certain times. Most children have grown out of ear infections by the age of seven. Most ear infections are caused by a virus which will get better by itself and will not need antibiotics.

Fever - A normal temperature is between 36-36.8°C (96.8-98.24°F). In children, any temperature of 38°C (100.4°F) or above is considered high and is classed as a fever.

Upset tummy - Sickness and diarrhoea bugs are caught easily, take children to your doctor if they are unwell for longer than 24 hours or sooner if they are newborn or if you notice signs of dehydration.

Health visitor says

Birth to Five

Birth to Five provides information on what to expect and what to do if you are worried about your baby or your child and more detailed information on the common childhood illnesses listed under info.

Birth to Five gives parents information on:

Birth to Five aims to:


Most of the problems you will encounter are simply an everyday part of growing up.


Something that can seem quite serious, like a high temperature, can be put down to a cold


Trust your instincts, you know your child better than anybody else.

The above information cannot replace specialist treatment. If you are still worried, contact NHS Direct or your doctor.