Anu R. Pathak, MD

Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine Physician located in Southbridge, MA

As your child grows and develops, you may notice an uptick in illnesses like ear infections, strep throat, and even pneumonia. Fortunately, Anu R. Pathak, MD, has more than 20 years of experience in pediatrics treating these common illnesses in children. At her office in Southbridge, Massachusetts, Dr. Pathak can run tests and provide the right treatment options for nearly any common illness your child may face, from the flu and strep throat to urinary tract infections (UTIs) and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). For more information, call Anu R. Pathak, MD, or schedule an appointment online.

Illness Q & A

Why does my child get sick so often?

Even if you stay up to date with every vaccination, send your child to school with hand sanitizer, and load their diet up with fruits and vegetables, it’s nearly impossible to stop them from catching certain illnesses.

Children, especially between the ages of five and seven, have weaker immune systems than adults. As your child’s immune system develops, they’re often in close contact with other children at daycare, school, or after-care.

When children are in such close proximity to one another, they’re not as conscientious about coughing, sneezing, or washing their hands as adults. As a result, common illnesses tend to spread quickly amongst groups of children.

What are the most common childhood illnesses?

While individuals of any age can develop the following illnesses, they’re most common in children and teens:

Cold and flu

The flu (influenza) and the common cold are believed to be the most common illnesses in humans, and they’re especially prevalent in children. These two illnesses share many symptoms, including congestion, runny nose, sore throat, fever, and sneezing. However, flu symptoms tend to be more severe and may include nausea and vomiting, body aches, chills, and extreme fatigue.

Strep throat

Strep throat is a bacterial infection that causes irritation, redness, and inflammation of the throat. Often spread by coughing and sneezing, strep throat is most common in children between the ages of five and 15. Some of the most common strep throat symptoms to watch out for include sore throat, white spots in throat, fever, loss of appetite, chills, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck. If you suspect your child has a sore throat, Dr. Pathak can perform a rapid strep test and prescribe antibiotics if it comes back positive.


Pneumonia is an infection that causes severe lung inflammation. While pneumonia symptoms can be mild, the infection is sometimes life-threatening. Some of the most common symptoms include coughing, mucus, high fever, chills, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, fatigue, and chest pain. If your child has bacterial pneumonia—the most common type—Dr. Pathak may prescribe antibiotics to fight the infection.

Ear infections

An ear infection is a bacterial infection that inflames the middle ear. Highly common in children, ear infections are often the result of a cold or upper respiratory infection. Some of the most common ear infection symptoms to watch out for, if your child is too young to tell you their ear hurts, include clumsiness, fever, crying, and general fussiness.

What are other common illnesses found in children?

As your child grows and develops into their teen years and early adulthood, some common illnesses they may face are:


A UTI, or urinary tract infection, is a painful infection of the urinary system. While a UTI can develop in any part of your urinary system—bladder, kidneys, ureters, or urethra—they’re found most often in the urethra and bladder. 

Women are at a far greater risk of developing UTIs than men because they have a shorter urethra. Some of the most common UTI symptoms include frequent urination, painful urination, blood in the urine, and cloudy urine. Fortunately, Dr. Pathak can diagnose a UTI with a urine sample and treat it with certain antibiotic medications.


Dr. Pathak encourages sexually active teens to come into her office for routine STD screenings at least once a year. These screenings test for common STDs, including human papillomavirus (HPV), chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and even HIV. Regular STD screening helps protect everyone from the spread of disease.

From infancy through early adulthood, Anu R. Pathak, MD, is there for every issue your child experiences with their health. Call or book an appointment online to learn more.