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CHILDHOOD DISEASES - DESCRIPTION


When we talk about childhood infectious diseases, the most common are diseases with a skin rash, the so-called exanthematic diseases. Children's diseases with a rash are more common in the spring months, and their main feature is a rash on the skin in the form of spots, blisters or tiny red spots. A more pronounced rash does not mean a more serious disease, but it is only a symptom related to a certain infectious disease. The baby is born with a certain amount of protective antibodies that it receives from the mother through the placenta. The mother's body contains a sufficient amount of antibodies against some viruses, such as measles, which protect the child against this disease for almost the entire first year, although less after six months.

Today, most children are vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella. All of these infections give the body immunity after healing, so it is very rare for them to get sick a second time. Rash or exanthema diseases are significantly more common in children than in adults, and because of similar symptoms they are sometimes difficult to distinguish. We will list them here and describe them all a bit.

MEASLES
Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that causes fever, malaise, loss of appetite, runny nose, cough and sore throat. Inflammation of the conjunctiva (conjunctivitis) often occurs, and the blood count is characterized by a reduced number of leukocytes. It is only on the fourth or fifth day of the disease that a characteristic rash appears, which is characteristic of measles, since in other rash diseases the development of rash is usually not preceded by these symptoms. It typically appears first behind the ears and on the forehead, and over the next two or three days affects the face, neck, torso, and extremities in turn. The rash is mottled and small red, after its outbreak the temperature usually drops to normal, while the runny nose, cough and sore throat pass quickly. This disease is also a possible danger because it can cause complications, especially ear infections and inflammation of the brain (encephalitis).

RUBELLA
Rubella is an acute, infectious disease, characterized by a rash with light red irregular spots, and enlarged lymph nodes, especially on the neck or behind the ear. This disease is transmitted by droplet infection, and the patient is most contagious a few days before the rash appears and about four days after. The disease is not severe, the general symptoms are scanty, but its medical significance lies in the danger of infection of pregnant women and permanent damage to the fetus manifested by congenital malformations. Incubation of the disease usually lasts 14 to 18 days, and the disease usually begins with the appearance of a rash with an increase in lymph nodes behind the ears and on the back of the head and a possible enlargement of the spleen. The rash first appears on the face, forehead and behind the ears, and then spreads throughout the body in a few hours. The changes themselves are pink, smaller and brighter than measles, and very quickly fade in the same order in which they occurred. The most reliable criterion for diagnosis is the evidence of specific antibodies in the blood already present at the time of the rash, which remain in the blood for up to three months from the time of infection. Treatment is usually not necessary, while complications are treated symptomatically.


CHICKENPOX
Chickenpox is an acute infectious disease primarily of childhood, and the cause is the varicella virus - zoster, which in people who have had chickenpox can lead to the appearance of herpes zoster later in life. It is one of the most common childhood diseases, especially in children's collectives, and it is spread by droplets, through the air or in contact with the skin of patients. After incubation for two to three weeks, the disease begins with the appearance of fever, malaise, and a characteristic rash. The rash first erupts on the trunk in the form of a few small red spots (papules) that soon fill with fluid creating small blisters (vesicles). It then spreads to the neck, scalp and face, only to eventually affect the arms and legs. It can be quite mild, and can be so abundant that it covers the entire skin. The blisters burst and turn into light brown scabs that slowly darken until they eventually fall off, mostly within two weeks of the onset of the disease. At least 90% of children under the age of 15 suffer from this infectious disease. It is highly contagious, at most three to four days after the appearance of the rash. When scabs form, the patient is no longer contagious.


SCARLATINA
The disease is transmitted by droplet infection just like the other listed diseases, but this is the only disease that is not caused by a virus but by bacteria of the streptococcus group and is therefore treated with antibiotics. The rash usually appears after an incubation period of three to five days and can last up to a week. It first affects the neck, torso and extremities, while the palms and soles are usually spared. There is no characteristic rash on the face, only reddening of the cheeks with pale skin around the mouth. The rash is light red with small nodules resembling "sandpaper", and small spotting may occur. Red lines on the skin folds around the neck or elbows often appear. What makes it different from other childhood diseases is the fact that it can occur more than once, that is, immunity does not develop. Scarlet fever mostly affects children aged four to ten.

INFECTIOUS ERYTHEMA
Infectious erythema, also known as fifth rash disease, is an infectious disease of mild clinical course caused by Parvovirus B19. The most common disease is in children aged 5 to 15, and it is transmitted by droplets and through blood and blood derivatives, and the possibility of other household members who have not recovered from this disease is 50%. Once overcome, the fifth disease creates immunity and cannot be overcome again. What is characteristic of it is the large-spotted rash that occurs intermittently and in stages, located mainly on the face and on the upper and lower extremities. As the changes merge and spread, and the skin fades in the center, a characteristic drawing such as a map or grid develops. Rarely, dark red spots (enantem) may be present on the pharyngeal mucosa. Treatment is typically not necessary, while baths in warm water relieve itching.

THREE-DAY FEVER
Three-day fever is the sixth of the traditional childhood rash diseases, but it is very common. It occurs in children less than two years of age and is caused by a virus from the Herpes virus family. Although there is no group of symptoms in the clinical course as in measles, there is usually a three-day rise in body temperature before the rash appears. The infection is transmitted through saliva, and the infected is a source of infection for other children three days before the onset of fever. The rash appears only after the temperature drops, and first appears on the trunk, and then quickly spreads to the neck, face and extremities. It does not itch, fades on pressure, and looks like a rubella rash. The high fever lasts for three to five days and then falls spontaneously and a tiny spotted rash of a pale pink color appears on the face and then spreads to the whole body, arms and legs. The rash lasts for day two and disappears. The disease disappears spontaneously after five days and no treatment is required.

MUMPS
Mumps manifests as a soft swelling of the salivary glands located above the corner of the lower jaw, caused by the mumps virus. Mumps is often thought to be a childhood disease, and although it has been more common in children in the past, it is now more likely to occur in younger adults. Infected people can transmit the disease by sneezing, coughing or talking, expelling tiny droplets that an uninfected person can inhale. Also, the virus can be transmitted through unwashed hands or by using a glass, cutlery or other items used by an infected person. The mumps virus enters the body through the mouth or nose. As it reproduces, it can spread to the brain and sheath, glands, pancreas, testicles, ovaries and other parts of the body. The most common symptoms of mumps are swelling and pain in one or both sinuses, causing a swollen appearance of one or both cheeks, fever, headache, earache, sore throat, pain when swallowing or opening the mouth, pain when consuming acidic foods or drinks. such as lemon or fruit juice, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, poor appetite and vomiting. The first symptoms usually appear between 16 and 18 days after exposure to the virus, although the incubation period can last up to four weeks. Approximately one-third of people infected with the mumps virus have no severe symptoms. Also consult a doctor if you experience stiffness in the neck and severe headache, sore and tender testicles, or pain in the upper or lower abdomen. Because mumps is a viral disease, it cannot be treated with antibiotics. Like many other viral diseases, mumps simply needs to be overcome. If the mumps did not cause any additional complications, the symptoms in most cases last from ten days to two weeks. The occurrence of complications is possible and potentially serious, but also very rare. Some of the complications that can occur are testicular inflammation, pancreatitis, encephalitis or inflammation of the brain, meningitis, ovarian inflammation and hearing loss.


SELF-HELP MEASURES FOR SUPPORTING THERAPY

- To lower the temperature, use teas made from lavender, wild pansy and sweet violet
- Blackcurrant tea to boost immunity
- Bubbles chickenpox soak with lavender essential oil before scabs are made
- Use mallow compresses to soothe the itchy rash
- Give children plenty of fluids
- Mandatory rest
- In a room with a sick child, keep the air humid and the temperature 18 to 20 degrees Celsius
- Cover children with light blankets

REMARK

At the first symptoms of any of these diseases, contact a doctor immediately.