Watch Out for these Common Summer Illnesses in Kids

Amihan has already bid us goodbye and the scorching heat of the summer sun has descended upon us. With most types of seasons, this one comes with its own set of viral and bacterial illnesses that our kids are prone to catch.

Sicknesses are an inevitable part of growing up; as parents, it pays to be informed and prepared so we’re not caught unaware and panicking when our child comes down with something. Here are five common summer ailments in kids to keep an eye out for!

Watch Out for these Common Summer Illnesses in Kids


You’ve probably already seen the news of many schools suspending classes due to the high heat index. Heat stroke happens when the body’s natural cooling system is unable to keep up with intensely high temperatures. Among the heat-related illnesses, this is the most dangerous.

When left untreated, it could lead to brain damage and even death. That’s why when you suspect heatstroke, it’s important to immediately call for medical assistance.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Body temperature of 41.1 degrees Celsius and up
  • dizziness or weakness
  • no sweating
  • loss of consciousness
  • confusion
  • seizure
  • flushed hot dry skin
  • extreme headache
  • nausea
  • rapid breathing
  • fast heartbeat

While Waiting For Medical Help:
Move your child indoors or to a shaded area, undress them, and use a sponge to apply cool water on the skin. Do not give your child fluids if unconscious!

Hydration, hydration, hydration! Encourage your kids to drink even if they’re not thirsty. With littles, you can get creative if they don’t want just water – make some watermelon popsicles or offer coconut juice for some added flavor and fun.

Also, make it a habit to apply sunscreen and wear comfortable light clothing. As parents, let’s be mindful of our kid’s schedules, too – avoid extensive outdoor activities between 10am to 3pm. If it’s unavoidable, at least scout around for nearby shaded areas and bring what you need to prevent any heat-related ailments.

Sore Eyes (Viral or Bacterial)

Also known as pinkeye or conjunctivitis, sore eyes are quite common among younger kids – particularly playschool and preschool age – and can be highly infectious, if stemming from a viral or bacterial strain. It pertains to the inflammation of the conjunctive, which is the white part of the eye, as well as the inner eyelids.

Thankfully, most cases of sore eyes aren’t really life-threatening, although they aren’t pleasant to look at.

Signs and Symptoms: 

  • Watery eyes
  • reddening of the conjunctiva
  • swollen eyelids
  • “crusty” eyelashes after sleeping
  • sensitivity to light
  • eye pain
  • eye rubbing

What To Do: 
Thankfully, sore eyes are a minor infection, and can be treated at home. For viral infections, the best advice is to stay at home and ride it out, as viruses tend to clear out in their own time. For discomfort, you can ask your child’s pediatrician if giving acetaminophen is all right – don’t forget to ask for the right dosage!

For bacterial infections, your child’s pediatrician will most likely prescribe antibiotic eye drops. For young kids who struggle with eye drops, ask for an ointment alternative, if available.

Try to minimize or soothe discomfort by applying cool or warm compresses on the affected eye. You can also very gently clean “crusty” eyes with a damp gauze or cotton ball.

Finally, immediately dispose of used gauze and cotton balls and wash any towels or linens used by your child separately, and in hot water, to sterilize them. If you have multiple kids, they shouldn’t share pillowcases, towels or washcloths in the meantime, either.

As always, wash your (and your kids’) hands well with soap and water.

Food Poisoning

Because of the warmer temperatures, food tends to spoil more easily (and bacteria multiply faster!) – which means hospitals see more cases of food poisoning during this season.

Some of the most common germs that cause food poisoning are salmonella, E. coli, norovirus, listeria, and campylobacter.

Signs and Symptoms:

Signs of food poisoning tend to show up within 1 to 10 days, some even within hours of eating the contaminated food or drink. These include:

  • stomach pain and cramping
  • fever
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • general weakness

What to Do: 
Most cases of food poisoning resolve quickly and can be handled at home. It’s important to encourage plenty of rest and fluids until the symptoms ease up. Do avoid dairy until the stomach settles, and try to get your child to take small but frequent sips of liquid if he or she can’t manage a full glass.

What usually escalates this into a life-threatening ailment is dehydration. If your child has sunken eyes, little to no urine output, dizziness, weakness, and lightheadedness, make a trip to the ER right away.

Other red flags that warrant a visit to the ER are: black or maroon-colored stools, diarrhea with accompanying fever of 38.3 degrees Celsius or higher, over 12 hours of vomiting, bloody feces or vomit, and intense belly pain that continues even after a bowel movement.

Frequent and proper handwashing is a must (soap and water for at least 15 seconds!), as well as proper cleaning of utensils, surfaces, and chopping boards. Always check leftovers or food that’s been left out to cool for possible spoilage before offering them to your child (and also don’t leave them out too long!). Finally, make sure to thoroughly wash raw fruits and vegetables and keep raw foods away from other products until they’re fully cooked.


Unfortunately, the constantly-changing summer weather also brings about a fresh wave of flu. Most strains have the power to knock out our kids for days, even weeks at a time. Other members of the family tend to catch it one after the other, too, which can be a miserable period of lockdown time in a household.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • sudden onset of fever, along with headache and chills
  • a cough and cold
  • diarrhea
  • muscle aches
  • reduced appetite
  • tiredness
  • ear pain
  • nausea and vomiting
  • extra fussiness in babies

What to Do:
Simple, at-home care – and lots of TLC – can treat the flu. Lots of fluids and rest, as well as appropriate dosages of kids’ acetaminophen or ibuprofen as needed for comfort, will most likely do the trick.

It’s always a good idea to stay up-to-date with the annual flu vaccine, not just for the kids (at least 6 months old upwards) but also for all the other family members. It also helps to mask up to avoid passing the infection to other people. Good ol’ handwashing can help mitigate the spread as well.

Finally, please do not send your kids to school when there are flu symptoms present. Let’s be kind to one another and let our kids stay at home to recover safely and peacefully!

Prickly Heat Rash (Bungang Araw)

The skin is the first point of contact for heat, so it’s inevitable for many kids to experience a form of skin ailment at some point during the summer.

In this humid tropical heat, one of the most common skin conditions to plague kids is prickly heat rash, more commonly known among Filipinos as bungang araw. This is usually caused by excessive sweating, which can lead to blocked sweat ducts.

Signs and Symptoms: 

  • fine pink rash on skin, most commonly on the neck, upper back, and chest
  • tiny pink bumps up close
  • small water blisters in babies

What to Do:
Prickly heat rash is rarely an emergency, and the best things we can do is to soothe the symptoms (since we can’t do anything about the weather!). Try to move your child to a cooler location, or always bring a portable fan with you when you go outdoors.

You can also use a damp and cool cloth to gently pat the affected area and cool it down – just make sure dab away any excess moisture. Or, you can transition into a fun summer activity: a lukewarm bath or shower!


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