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HLT 111 - Health and the Young Child - Textbook

Chapter 1: Common Communicable Diseases of Children

Chapter Objectives

At the conclusion of the chapter, students will be able to

  1. List indicators of child health
  2. Describe causes, symptoms, signs, and prevention measures for common communicable diseases of children
  3.  Identify and describe the common vaccine-preventable diseases
  4. Discuss the importance of immunization for the young child, (age 0-8)
  5. Describe communicable diseases prevention and interventions appropriate at home and in the school setting.
  6. Discuss common immunization myths and misconceptions
  7. Demonstrate knowledge and skills on how to care children with common medical conditions such as fever, seizures, diarrhea, vomiting, etc.


The world health organization defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Diseases may be classified into communicable and non-communicable diseases. Sometimes both communicable and non-communicable disease may be found in the same individual and one may increase the risk of another. For example, human papilloma virus infection may cause cervical and/or anal cancer.

 A communicable disease is transmitted from one person or animal to another directly or indirectly. A communicable disease may be caused by prions, viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, or helminths. Examples of communicable diseases in children include common cold, Chicken Pox, Herpes Simplex, Measles, Influenza (“flu”), hepatitis, and Intestinal parasites, among many others. Some diseases can be prevented by vaccinations; others do not have a vaccine. Examples of diseases which can be prevented by vaccination include measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, poliomyelitis, pertussis, and some types of hepatitis.

Common signs and symptoms of communicable diseases include runny nose, excessive sneezing or coughing, sore throat, earache, swollen glands, fever, headache, skin rash, nausea, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.

Some diseases do not have a vaccine or the vaccines may be still under development, for example, HIV/AIDS, malaria, and Ebola Virus Disease.  Some disease may not have a specific treatment.  

Parents, guardians and teachers and are responsible for the prevention of the spread of infection in children. Common measures for the prevention of infection include immunization of children and adults caring for children, hand hygiene,   prevention of exposure to blood and body fluids, taking appropriate inclusion/exclusion /dismissal/referral  measures for a sick child in a school setting.

Chapter Review and Discussion Questions


Chapter Review

  1. Discuss individual, family, community and societal factors affecting a child health, giving an example of how each factor bears on the health of the child.
  2. What are the common communicable diseases affecting children? Give six examples of vaccine-preventable diseases in children.
  3. Examine the recommended immunization schedule for children. Do you think public schools should allow unimmunized children to learn along with those immunized?
  4. What are the common medical conditions affecting the young child?
  5. What measures should a teacher take to prevent common communicable diseases in the school setting? 

Group Discussion

Discuss common immunization myths and misconceptions, and how you can use scientific evidence to advance the public health cause of immunization for all children.