Illnesses in children manifest in different ways. As a parent, it is important to understand the signs and symptoms in order to identify them early. Here are the danger signs indicating illnesses in a child:

  • Refusal to feed

At home, the eating habits of a child are easy to track. For the young children who cannot talk, refusal to either breastfeed or bottle feed is important to note. For the older children, they will express disinterest in eating and have reduced appetite. This is one of the indicators of illness in a child. If you are a parent who leaves your child with a caregiver, make a point of asking about the feeding.

  • Fever

This is hotness of the body. It can easily be felt by the parent on touching the child or by the use of a thermometer. It is recommended that one has a thermometer at home to make serial recordings of temperature especially with a sick child. The normal temperature readings range between 35.5-37.2 degrees. If you identify fever in your child, seeking help from a hospital is the best idea. It is an indicator of an infectious process in the child.

  • Dehydration

This is the reduction of fluids in the body. This mostly refers to the water content of the body. The major causes of dehydration in children are vomiting and diarrhea (loose stools). Dehydration is a one of the causes of fatalities in children. This presents as dryness of the mouth and eyes. What would be easy to recognize is the reduction of the number of diapers a child uses in a day. It is influenced by the reduction of the urine output, which is related to the reduced amount of fluid in the body.

  • Lethargy

It is lack of enthusiasm and energy. Children are playful and jumpy, especially when interacting with people familiar to them. If you come back from work and you realise that your child is not in their usual self, take time to find out if they are sick or not.

  • Convulsion 

A convulsion is an irregular movement of the body involving part of or the whole body. For young children, this could be quite subtle such as smacking of the lips or quick blinking. In addition to that, flickering movements of the limbs or even peddling of the legs are some of the symptoms. In older children, they could range from violent body movements to frothing of the mouth or eye rolling. This is a danger sign that would indicate infections in the brain. Examples would be meningitis or cerebral malaria. It is not a symptom to downplay, seek medical attention.

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