Top 5 child sicknesses and how to prevent them

Dec 8, 2010 at 11:08 a.m. ET

Sniffles, coughs and tears. There’s nothing worse than a house full of sick kids, or feeling helpless to their plight. Do your part to keep your kids healthy by educating yourself. Keep reading to learn about the top 5 child sicknesses and find out how to prevent them.

Little girl with fever

According to data from the Mayo Clinic, the top five reasons for missed school days include these child sicknesses: common cold, stomach flu, ear infection, pink eye and sore throat. Learn the definitions of each of these child sicknesses with the help of Ashley Koff, RD, celebrity nutritionist and featured nutrition expert on the CW's upcoming "Shedding for the Wedding."

1Common cold

There are more than 200 viruses that can cause the common cold. Of those, rhinovirus is the most common. As Koff points out, antibiotics aren't an effective treatment since the common cold is caused by a virus.

2Stomach flu

According to Koff, the stomach flu (also known as viral gastroenteritis) can occur after a child consumes contaminated food or water, or comes into contact with an infected person.

3Ear infection

Koff says ear infections usually begin from a viral infection, such as a cold. Children are more likely than adults to get ear infections.

4Pink eye

"A virus normally causes pink eye, although sometimes bacteria or allergies can be the cause," Koff said.

5Sore throat

According to Koff, viruses cause the majority of sore throats and can be accompanied by other respiratory signs, including a cough and runny nose.

Up next: Preventing common sickness in kids >>

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