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Medical Issues Examined in the Dr. Hippo Series

Image by Katy Bratun © Hippocratic Press

We decided to focus the first series of Dr. Hippo stories on common infectious illnesses because they cause such an enormous burden each year to American children.

Did you know that?

  • Ear infections are responsible for 30 million office visits and more than 10 million antibiotic prescriptions annually. (1)
  • American children have 6-10 colds each year. These cause over 22 million lost days of school annually. (2)
  • Over-the-counter cold and cough medications are not considered either safe or effective in treating children under age 6. (3)
  • Fever is the most common complaint of children seen in the Pediatric Emergency Department. (4)
  • Approximately 7.3 million outpatient visits attributable to sore throat occur yearly among children in the US, and group A streptococcus is responsible for 15%-36% of cases. (5)
  • Sore throats, caused by both virus and bacteria… have significant infectious and noninfectious complications. For example, group A streptococci, the most common cause of bacterial pharyngitis among children and adults, are the leading cause of acquired heart disease among children throughout the world. (6)
  • Acute gastroenteritis continues to be a common illness among infants and children worldwide. In the US, diarrhea accounts for more that 1.5 million outpatient visits, 200,000 hospitalizations and 300 deaths per year. (7)


  1., March 2004, p. 2.
  2., December 2004, p. 1.
  3. Sharfstein, JM et al, New England Journal of Medicine, 2007; 357: pp 2321-2324.
  4. Poirier, MP et al, Pediatric Emergency Care, 2000; 16: p. 9.
  5. Pfoh, E et al, Pediatrics, 2008; 121: pp 229-234.
  6. Martin, JM et al, Pediatrics, 2004; 114: p. 1212.
  7. Pickering, LK in AAP News, August 2004, p. 99.