October is a month dedicated to Breast Cancer awareness, and while this is important to acknowledge, there are many other conditions of which to be aware. Educating yourself and spreading awareness on these conditions may benefit your children, others around you, and even yourself. Having said this, below are eight conditions to be recognized that could affect your child, including RSV, Sensory Processing Disorder, Spina Bifida, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, ADD/ADHD, Dwarfism, and Down Syndrome.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
This virus is an infection of the lungs and respiratory tract. It infects most children, as it is very common, and in some cases, adults can also contract the infection. This virus is similar to the common cold, giving symptoms of congestion, cough, sore throat, and headache. If your child is showing these symptoms, usually, this can be treated at home. However, in severe cases, it can cause a fever, wheezing, a blush color of the skin, and lethargy. If these are the symptoms your child is showing, a trip to the hospital may be necessary.
To prevent contracting RSV, wash your hands, wash your child’s toys, avoid smoking around your infant, and sharing drinks with others. There is an injection that can help prevent your child from contracting this virus, and if interested, talk with your doctor.
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)
Sensory Processing Disorder affects how the brain processes stimuli; this means one may have trouble processing things they see, hear, smell, taste, or touch. If diagnosed with SPD, someone could be sensitive to just one stimulus or all of them. It could even have the opposite effect and make them less susceptible to certain stimuli. This disorder is seen more in children than adults, but adults can still develop the condition. Here are some of the top signs for SPD:
- Clothes feeling too itchy
- Light appears too bright
- Sounds are too loud
- Food texture is too much
Children could be under-sensitive if they show signs of the following:
- Unable to sit still
- Seeking excitement
- Unaware of social cues
- Chewing on things
Usually, SPD is treated through therapy. Contact your doctor if you suspect your child is struggling with SPD.
Spina Bifida is a congenital disability where a part of the spinal column does not form correctly. It exposes a section of the nerves and spinal cord on a child’s back. This birth defect occurs in 1 per 2,000 births in the United States, making it a very common central nervous system malformation. There are many different forms of Spina Bifida, and depending on the location of the lesion, it can cause bladder and bowel issues, loss of sensation below defect, club feet, and knee problems.
There are two types of treatment for this condition: fetal surgery during pregnancy or surgery immediately after birth. Follow-up care is required after the treatment. The survival rate for this condition remains high – from 80 to 97 percent. People diagnosed with Spina Bifida can lead full lives.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is the unexplainable death of an infant. It can be referred to as “crib death” because most infants pass away in their sleep. The cause of this condition is unknown, but it is speculated that there is a defect in the part of the brain that controls breathing and sleep. Some infants are more at risk because of sex, race, age, and family history, but there are some ways to prevent SIDS.
It is always a good idea to practice the following things to prevent any future complications.
- Keep your baby on their back while sleeping.
- Sleeping on a more firm surface to avoid suffocation.
- Letting your baby sleep alone
- Keeping your child’s diet in check.
- Letting your baby sleep in your room.
- Breastfeeding if possible.
It is a rare genetic disorder affecting the neurological system. This disorder occurs more in females than males and affects the child throughout their life; effects include loss in motor skills and speech, slow growth, breathing issues, seizures, and irregular heartbeat. This disorder is due to abnormal brain development. If you see these symptoms present and suspect Rett syndrome, seek medical attention.
There are several ways to treat this disorder, and a combination may be most beneficial at times. Some treatments include medications, physical and occupational therapy, nutritional support, and behavioral training. Finding community and support if your child suffers from Rett Syndrome can be a massive help for yourself and your little one. You are not alone; check out the link below to learn more.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
ADHD and ADD are inherently the same; ADD is an outdated term for the disorder. This condition is prevalent among children. Some signs of ADHD could be when a young one is inattentive, hyperactive, or impulsive. There are three different types:1) inattentive, which usually means the child is easily distracted but not hyperactive or impulsive; 2) hyperactive/impulsive, where the child struggles with hyperactivity and impulsiveness and is inattentive; and lastly, 3) a combination of the two.
Although this is widely known for being a disorder in children, it can also be present in adults. Usually, adults who have ADHD have had it since childhood but were not diagnosed until later in life. Usually, treatment is different depending on age. If the child is very young (less than six years of age,) they recommend behavioral training. If they are older than six, they will introduce medication and/or therapy.
This condition is when a person is smaller in height than most people due to their genes or other medical reasons. An adult with Dwarfism could be around four feet in stature. There are two main types: disproportionate and proportionate. Disproportionate is when the torso is average size but the rest of the body is shortened. Proportionate is when the body parts are proportional to each other but altogether shorter.
Usually, Dwarfism in a baby is evident while pregnant, at birth, or in infancy, and doctors can diagnose through physical examination and X-rays. Here are some signs to look out for, as it can be difficult to tell if a person has dwarfism until at a certain age:
- larger head
- breathing problems
- the curvature of the spine
- joint stiffness
- crowded teeth
- lower back pain.
In some cases, treatment of growth hormone can help early on. However, later in life, treatment could include a shunt, a tracheotomy, or corrective surgery. It’s also a good idea to try physical therapy when having complications. There are many support groups and communities to join if you or your child has dwarfism. Don’t be afraid to reach out!
A genetic disorder that occurs when abnormal cell division occurs and is a copy of an whole twenty-first chromosome. The extra genetic material shifts development and physical features. Down Syndrome can range in severity and causes intellectual disability as well as delays in development. Symptoms include a flattened face, small head, short neck, and prolonged tongue.
Children with Down Syndrome are usually diagnosed at or before birth. Treatment options can be physically oriented or speech oriented, and occupational therapy can help as well. With a good community and support system, children and adults with Down Syndrome can live happy lives.
These conditions affect many people worldwide, and you can use this month to educate yourself further, spread awareness, and support your neighbor. If you suspect one of these conditions in yourself or your child, it can seem scary, but always remember you are never alone! There is treatment, research, and a community going through the same struggles!
Find more resources and learn about support groups on our website.