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Thu, Mar 19, 2020

The 9 Most Common Upper Respiratory Diseases in Children

Upper respiratory diseases such as influenza, cold, throat swelling, sinusitis and laryngitis occur due to infection. These ailments, also known as 'winter diseases', generally cause nasal congestion and inflammation in the throat.

Upper respiratory diseases can be seen more frequently in children, whose immune system is weaker than adults. Most children suffer from these diseases 5-8 times a year (seen more in children attending daycare or school).

We searched for the 9 most common upper respiratory diseases in children. Which diseases are the most common? Let's look closely.

With the arrival of the winter season, diseases such as colds, sore throat, sinusitis, pharyngitis and laryngitis become more common in children. However, more serious diseases such as bronchitis and pneumonia, which are known as lower respiratory diseases, may also begin to appear.

The cooling of the weather is not the only factor in the emergence of diseases. Viruses are the most important factor in increasing winter diseases. They can survive up to 48-72 hours in a lifeless environment and this is enough time to make a body sick.

How Are Viruses Transmitted?

Upper respiratory diseases (flu, cold, sinusitis, sore throat and pharyngitis) can be transmitted through viruses, contact or droplets. So how are viruses that cause upper respiratory diseases transmitted?

In order for the virus to be transmitted to a healthy person, it is enough for a sick person carrying the virus to sneeze, cough, or even breathe or touch you.

What are the Symptoms of Upper Respiratory Diseases?


Viral infections can be more easily transmitted to children, and the disease can occur more severely. Since children 's immune system is weak or inadequate, it can cause them to get sick more easily and feel the symptoms more severe. Therefore, serious measures may be required to take for children whose immune system is not yet developed.

The virus can cause the disease 1-3 days after infecting the child. The disease can last for an average of 1 week.

During this period, some symptoms such as restlessness, anorexia, nasal congestion, vomiting (sometimes) and diarrhea may occur in young children and infants.

In older children, a runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat or itchy throat, weakness, nasal discharge, cough and sneezing can be seen.

Cold (Flu)

Flu is an infectious disease caused by viruses. Although it is seen intensely in winter, it can be seen in every season of the year. A normal flu can generally heal within 10 days. It can be seen especially in mid seasons (spring and autumn seasons) or severe temperature changes.

Flu is a disease that can be seen in almost everyone. Anyone can have a cold once or twice a year. The disease has nothing to do with age or gender. It can also be said that people with a weakened immune system are more likely to get a cold (or even bronchitis or pneumonia).

Cold in Children (Common Cold)

Children are even more susceptible to flu. Disease symptoms may appear a few hours after infection.

Cold symptoms include runny nose and itching, sneezing, nasal congestion and watery eyes. In addition, headaches, swelling in the eyes, coughing and wheezing may also be involved.

In case of diseases such as sinusitis, otitis media, pneumonia, the healing process may be prolonged and the symptoms may increase.

Flu (Influenza)

Influenza is an upper respiratory tract disease that occurs as a result of viral infection like flu. The symptoms of the flu are more severe than the cold.

Influenza is a disease caused by the influenza virus. It is transmitted through droplets. The saliva of a sick person can cause the transmission of the virus.

The flu-causing viruses are generally effective in late autumn. Especially in closed and foggy weather, rainy days can cause the flu epidemic.

The flu can often be effective in people with a weakened immune system, children and the elderly. Indoor spaces such as schools, workplaces, public transport and nurseries are ideal environments for the transmission and spreading of the virus.

It is beneficial to take extra precautions for closed areas such as cinema, theater and public transportation vehicles especially in autumn and winter seasons.

Influenza virus can show its symptoms within 1-3 days when it is transmitted to a healthy person. The symptoms of the flu may be fever, chills, pain in the joints and muscles, weakness, nausea, sore throat, severe cough, itching and burning sensation in the throat. Since serious weakness will occur, the patient may want to spend the disease process lying down and resting.

Flu symptoms can normally reduce its severity within 4-5 days. The disease can heal within 1 week. However, if there are diseases such as pneumonia, sinusitis and otitis media, the healing process may be prolonged. The disease may even become more risky. It is very important to consult a doctor before reaching this stage.

The Difference Between Flu and Cold.

Flu is often mixed with cold. But the 2 diseases are different from each other, and for the correct method of treatment, the difference between cold and flu should be well known.

Flu usually has high fever and headache. In colds, fever is not observed and headaches are rarely mentioned.

Sneezing is one of the obvious symptoms of cold. Sneezing is not common in people with the flu.

There is also a cough in colds and flu. But people with flu may have a more severe cough.

Although a slight weakness is observed in children with a cold, this does not affect their ability to continue their daily work. The flu has a marked weakness and can last for several weeks.

Sore throat can be seen frequently in the cold. Along with a sore throat, itching sensation may also be present in the throat. In the flu, sore throat is less common.

Sore Throat in Children

Sore throat in children occurs as a result of viruses causing infection in the throat. It can also be seen with a common cold and sore inflammation. However, it is useful to see a doctor to find out the exact cause of sore throat in children.

The first symptom of sore throat is an itch sensation that occurs in the same area. Sore throat can be prevented if an immediate measure against throat itching is taken.

Sore throat is more common especially in preschool children. In addition to sore throat, which occurs due to infections caused by viruses, symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, cough are seen.

The infection that causes sore throat can also settle in the tonsils. This can cause symptoms of the disease to increase. In addition to sore throat, fever, swelling in tonsils and difficulty swallowing may occur.

Sore Throat Treatment in Children

If there is sore throat in children, it is useful to consult a doctor before starting antibiotic treatment.

Children with throat infections should rest and consume plenty of fluids first. However, since inflammation in the tonsils will increase the severity of sore throat, it can be difficult for children to feed on solid food. For this, softer foods such as mash and soup can be consumed until the disease is cured.

Be sure to consult your doctor before starting to use medicines for treatment.

Otitis Media in Children

Infection may occur in the middle ear as a result of a cold, sore throat or upper respiratory diseases. The cause of the disease is that the eustachian tube (the part that connects the nose and throat with the middle ear) is clogged and therefore infection occurs. Another name for common otitis media is “middle ear infection”.

Although common ear inflammation is an upper respiratory tract disease commonly seen in children, it can also be seen in adults in some cases. It can be more painful in children than in adults.

Causes of Otitis media

The reason for common ear infection is that the Eustachian tube is blocked and, as a result, prepares the ground for inflammation. The cause of the disease more frequently in children may be the Eustachian tube, nasal flesh, age, premature birth, cigarette smoke, and seasonal.

Otitis media can occur more frequently in children between 6 months and 2 years of age. Extra precautions may be required especially for children at this age who are attending nursery school.

Symptoms of Otitis Media

Symptoms of otitis media are different in children and adults. Otitis medias occur mostly in autumn and winter. The process of healing otitis media can vary depending on the severity of the disease. As it can heal on its own, symptoms can become more severe.

Symptoms of Otitis Media in Children

Symptoms of otitis media in children are generally as follows: ear pain, insomnia, weakness, restlessness, hearing problems, loss of balance, high fever, discharge in the ear, loss of appetite, itching in and around the ear.

Types of Otitis Media

There are different types of otitis media. These are acute otitis media, otitis media with effusion and chronic otitis media.

Acute Otitis Media

Acute otitis media can cause swelling and redness in the ear. Symptoms of the disease may include fever and ear pain.

Otitis Media with Effusion

It can be seen after acute otitis media. It is formed by filling the middle ear cavity with liquid. It usually occurs in preschool children.

It is very difficult to notice the symptoms of otitis media with effusion. It can cause hearing loss. For this reason, children, suffering from otitis media with effusion, may have hearing difficulties. This can affect children's social relationships and school success.

In otitis media with effusion, it should not be delayed to consult a doctor.

Chronic Otitis media

Chronic otitis media occurs due to chronic inflammation of the middle ear cavity and the eustachian tube.

Symptoms of otitis media: There may be discharge from the ear, perforation of the eardrum and hearing loss.

If the discharge from the ear continues for more than 3 months, it may become chronic. Inflammation in the middle ear can develop and damage other tissues. This can cause ear pain and high fever.

What is Sinusitis?

Sinusitis is an upper respiratory illness caused by the accumulation of inflamed tissue inside the facial bones. Sinusitis symptoms are nasal congestion, runny nose and nasal discharge, headache and difficulty in smelling.

The sinuses are the air spaces located in the bones in the cheek, nose, forehead, eye area and nasal area. Filling these cavities with liquid causes sinusitis.

Sinuses clean the nose and throat area from dust particles and bacteria. The sinuses secrete about half a liter of mucus per day. The mucus moves in the nose area and removes airborne particles. It is then dragged into the throat and swallowed. The bacteria and particles collected by the mucus go into the stomach, where they are broken down by stomach acid and made ineffective.

What are the symptoms of sinusitis?

Sinusitis symptoms may vary from person to person. The most common symptom of sinusitis known is pain in the head or forehead. But the pain caused by sinusitis is much more severe than this.

Symptoms of sinusitis include nasal congestion, hoarseness, swelling of the face and runny nose.

Sinusitis symptoms;

  • Cough that occurs at night or after waking up,
  • Dark viscous runny nose,
  • Pain around the eyes,
  • Bad breath, bad smell,
  • Nausea and vomiting,
  • Nasal congestion and snoring,
  • Postnasal drip,
  • Burning in the throat,
  • Headache

Laryngitis in children

Laryngitis disease occurs due to inflammation of the larynx in children and adults.

Children's throat may become inflamed due to laryngitis. This inflammation is usually temporary. But if the vocal cords are damaged excessively, there may be a long-term damage (hoarse voice).

If hoarseness and inflammation caused by laryngitis in children lasts more than 2-3 weeks, it is recommended to consult a doctor.

Causes of Laryngitis in Children

Edema occurring in the vocal cords due to laryngitis can cause changes in the voice and pain in children.

The throat may swell due to laryngitis. This may cause the sound to pass more difficult through the throat.

Viral infections such as colds and flu are among the most important causes of laryngitis. If necessary precautions are not taken, it can turn into chronic laryngitis.

The best precaution against laryngitis is to see a doctor's examination, to take care of personal care and to rest.

Causes of laryngitis in children:

  • Virus and bacterial respiratory infection
  • Reflux,
  • Smoking and exposure to cigarette smoke,
  • Various allergies

Laryngitis Symptoms

Laryngitis can cause different symptoms in adults and children. In adults, hoarseness, difficulty speaking, sore throat, low fever, and persistent cough may occur.

Laryngitis symptoms start suddenly and continue intensely within 2-3 days. The disease can last up to 3 weeks. If it does not improve within this time, this may be a precursor of a different disease.

Laryngitis can also be accompanied by these symptoms:

Headache, runny nose, difficulty swallowing, fatigue and weakness.

Symptoms of laryngitis in children may differ from adults. Laryngitis may show symptoms in children as hoarseness, cough, and fever.

Although these are precursors to a milder disease, taking precaution is crucial.

Pharyngitis in Children and Causes

Pharyngitis is an upper respiratory tract disease with symptoms such as throat burning, difficulty swallowing, sore throat and throat itching. The name of sore throat and throat infection in medicine is pharyngitis.

Pharyngitis is a type of disease transmitted through bacteria. Children with pharyngitis may experience sore throat, a burning sensation in the throat, cough, fever, dry throat, itching in the throat, fatigue, weakness and joint pain.

It is a winter disease that can be seen frequently in children. Due to its easy contamination, it may be necessary to take extra precautions especially for children going to school. Pharyngitis generally occurs in children between the ages of 2 and 12.

Diseases Causing Pharyngitis

Some diseases can cause pharyngitis in children;

  • Measles,
  • Chickenpox
  • Cough,
  • Pertussis
  • Beta infection,
  • Flu (influenza infection)

Also, children with frequent colds and sinusitis may be more likely to experience pharyngitis. In addition, pharyngitis can be seen in smokers and people exposed to cigarette smoke.

Bronchitis and Symptoms in Children

Bronchitis is an upper respiratory tract disease caused by infection of small air cells called bronchioles in the lung. It is more common in winter and spring months.

Infection of the bronchioles causes inflammation. Inflammation, on the other hand, causes a narrowing of the bronchioles, causing a decrease in lung capacity. Therefore, it is difficult for patients with bronchitis to breathe.

Bronchitis is often caused by a virus called “Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). It is mostly seen in children 2 years and under. This is called Acute Bronchitis Disease.

What are the symptoms of bronchitis?

  • The most important symptoms of bronchitis in children are upper respiratory infections. Symptoms of bronchitis are usually simple symptoms such as sneezing and runny nose.
  • Children with bronchitis may experience high fever and loss of appetite.
  • As the bronchioles are full, there may be congestion and difficulty in breathing.
  • Temporary cough crises may occur due to respiratory distress.
  • Wheezing may be observed due to narrowing of the lung capacity.

Pneumonia in Children

Pneumonia in children occurs when the infection in the lung due to viruses or bacteria causes inflammation.

Pneumonia is an upper respiratory disease that threatens younger children (mostly seen in children under the age of 5) and needs precaution.

Viruses and bacteria that cause pneumonia can be transmitted from person to person by air. For this reason, the most common points of infection are closed areas such as home, workplace and school. Viruses and bacteria that cause pneumonia can also be transmitted through things.

Pneumonia is a dangerous winter disease. It increases during flu outbreaks. The winter and spring months, when sudden temperature changes are experienced, are the periods that need to be considered most.

Attention should be paid to children in the age range of 0-1

According to experts, pneumonia is a big threat for children (babies) aged 0-1 years. It is useful to take extra precautions against pneumonia transmitted by viruses and bacteria, especially in winter and spring.

Children with a weakened immune system are also more likely to develop pneumonia. In particular, cough reflexes in children between the ages of 0-1 are quite weak. Since they cannot use the rib cage completely, they cannot cough out the germs. This causes bacteria to remain in the body.

What Are Pneumonia Symptoms?

Pneumonia symptoms in children are generally high fever, cough, rapid breathing, weakness, and difficulty breathing. If these symptoms are present in children, it should not be delayed to consult a doctor.

What should be done against pneumonia?

If any of the symptoms of pneumonia is present in the child or adult, the priority is to consult a doctor. Some measures to be taken during the treatment process can be effective against pneumonia.

Apart from this, it should be rested during the treatment period and should be avoided from crowded areas.

It is important that children are not found in closed areas more than necessary since the risk of illness is higher in winter.

During the treatment period, areas with children should be ventilated frequently.

Regular and healthy nutrition of children is a good measure against pneumonia. Children should be fed with natural food.

No smoking should be made with children.