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Children's Health

Keeping Your Children Happy and Healthy

All parents share the goal of keeping their children as healthy and happy as possible. Promoting health and effectively addressing illness are the two ways your health care provider attempts to support families in this endeavor. The old saying, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," remains as true today as it always has been.

Part of childhood often includes acute illnesses (short but sometimes severe), especially in the preschool years. Luckily the vast majority of childhood illnesses are self-limited, and with some simple and safe interventions, the children rebound with health and vigor. Because a child must build up their arsenal of immunity to fight off colds and viruses, they typically will have up to a dozen of such infections a year during the first few years of life.

Children may also have chronic illnesses (persisting over a long period of time) to contend with. Coping with the day-to-day struggles in chronic illness can, in some cases, place a damper on a child's natural enthusiasm, but there may be many things that can be done to help them lead pleasurable and fulfilling lives.

If your child has a medical condition, it is important to remember that your behavior influences him or her. If your child senses that you are overwhelmed and afraid, it will be more difficult for him/her to cope with an illness. This is why your interest in becoming educated about your child's condition, and maintaining that element of control, can be helpful. It can be equally important for both you and your child to understand that it may take some time to fully understand and care for any illness your child may experience.

The family's relationship with the health care provider also impacts how the child perceives his experience, how the medical team shares information and decision making with families, and how the families communicate their questions, fears or concerns. The goal is to approach care as a team. The family is an integral part of this approach, with each member fulfilling a key role. The medical team appreciates the input of the parents and relies on them to be advocates for their children. After all, parents know their children better than anyone else!

We wish you the best of luck in your pursuit to lead your children into healthy adulthood!

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Last Reviewed: Jun 21, 2007

Michael Spigarelli, MD, PhD
Formerly, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati

Caroline Mueller, MD
Assistant Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati