Common problems

Your child will almost definitely have one of these problems or conditions during childhood. Check this section for the essential information on nappy rash, fever, cough, bedwetting and more - including what to watch out for and when to seek help. 

Girl coughing

Asthma is a condition that leads to narrowing of the airways of the lungs. Symptoms include wheeze, cough and difficulty breathing.

Allergies happen when your child's immune system overreacts to a substance (called an allergen) which is harmless to most people.

Bedwetting happens during sleep. Your child can't control their bedwetting - it is not their fault. Be patient. Most children grow out of bedwetting.

A boil is a tender red lump on the skin which is caused by an infection of the hair root or sweat pore. Boils are not usually a serious problem. There is a small chance of your child becoming sicker if the infection spreads – if this happens you should take your child to your family doctor.

A breath-holding spell may happen after a child has an upset or sudden startle, such as a minor bump or a fright.

Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is a very common condition in children. It causes red, irritated and sticky eyes. It is usually caused by an infection (virus or bacteria), or allergies.

Constipation is when your child has hard, infrequent poo - it's a common problem in childhood.

Coughing is common in children, especially when they are preschool age. A cough that lasts longer than 4 weeks is not normal and may be a sign of chest disease.

Ear pain and concerns about hearing are one of the most common reasons parents take their young children to the doctor.

Eczema is a dry skin condition. It cannot be cured but it can usually be controlled.

Fevers are common in children. Fever by itself does not tell you whether your child is seriously sick. Even an ordinary cold can cause a high fever.

The flu is not the same as having a bad cold. The flu can be a serious and sometimes life-threatening infection. Yearly flu immunisation offers the best protection.

The foreskin is the loose skin that covers and protects the end of the penis. The foreskin and penis of an infant or child need no special care. A child's foreskin should never be pulled back (retracted) by force.

Gastroenteritis (gastro) is a bowel infection, usually caused by a virus. It causes runny, watery poo and sometimes vomiting. Children with gastroenteritis need to drink plenty of fluids.

If your child has hand, foot and mouth disease, keep them at home if they are unwell or have blisters. Make sure your child doesn't go to childcare or school until all the blisters have dried.

Head lice are small insects that live on the human scalp. They are common and cause concern and frustration for parents, children and young people. Dimethicone lotion is a very effective treatment that your family doctor can prescribe - check out our step by step guide.

You can prevent nappy rash by keeping baby's skin clean and dry. Change nappies as soon as possible after they become wet or soiled.

Nightmares are bad dreams that are usually related to worries your child may have. Night terrors can be very frightening and usually happen 1 or 2 hours after falling asleep.

Reflux is when your baby's stomach contents are released back up towards their mouth. It's very common and doesn't usually hurt your baby.

Meet Tristan and Justin. The 11-year-old twins know first hand that a sore throat left untreated can lead to rheumatic fever.