Teething problems - just something for little ones?

A red, itchy rash: In adults, one often thinks of an allergy first. But age does not protect against teething - unlike the name suggests, they can also affect adults, and then often violently. But what are teething problems?

Typical teething problems

First of all, children's diseases can be defined as all illnesses that the little ones can hit, a little narrower, especially those that are particularly common in childhood. These include respiratory infections, tonsillitis, middle ear, lung and meningitis, as well as allergies, pseudo-croup and gastrointestinal infections. A cause can not always be proven for the typical complaints in childhood such as fever (including febrile convulsions), coughing, stomach ache, diarrhea and vomiting.

With the narrowest, at the same time classical meaning of the term only certain infectious diseases are meant:

  • Dreitagefieber
  • whooping cough
  • poliomyelitis
  • measles
  • mumps
  • Fifth disease
  • rubella
  • scarlet
  • chickenpox


If one does not take all illnesses that can affect the little ones, but only the classic teething troubles in the narrower sense of the term "childhood diseases", they have one thing in common: they are quite contagious. Therefore, the pathogens are always well circulated, are widespread and you get in touch with it early in life and get infected - teething troubles.

Once you're through, you're usually immune to re-infection for the rest of your life. But: In recent decades, great efforts have been made to eradicate childhood diseases or at least to protect the individual from infection.

However, the vaccines used for this have the disadvantage that the infection protection thus achieved often does not last the entire life. The possible consequence is that more and more adults are infected for the first time with a childhood disease, namely, when the immunization achieved by the vaccinations wears off. Unfortunately, the courses are often not child's play, but the victims are quite incapacitated; Complications are more common in adulthood.


The fact that teething troubles are highly contagious infectious diseases ends up having the same commonalities. Teething troubles are caused by viruses or bacteria and are very different - different incubation times (duration between infection and outbreak), duration of symptoms from a few days to several weeks, with or without rash, from mild cold-like symptoms to serious complications. Some of the teething troubles are dangerous in pregnancy, others are harmless to the unborn child. You can vaccinate against some, but not against others.

incubation period disease duration
Dreitagefieber7-14 daysusually 3-4 days, max. 1 week
whooping cough7-20 daysPreliminary stage 1-2 weeks, seizure stage 3-6 weeks, recovery phase several weeks
poliomyelitisusually no or slight discomfort over 2-3 days; otherwise longer duration with paralysis
measles7-12 daysafter about 5 days better, then a few more days; for complications longer; Late sequel: creeping meningitis (SSPE)
mumps14-21 daysabout 1 week; for complications longer
Fifth disease7-18 daysfew days symptoms of a cold, rash possibly over weeks
rubella14-21 daysa few days
scarlet3-5 daysfew days symptoms of a sore throat, rash and scaling 1-2 weeks; for complications longer
chickenpox14-21 daysDays to weeks
rash Lifelong immunity id rule Vaccination mgl.
whooping coughNoNoYes
Fifth diseaseYesYesNo
chickenpoxYesYes; but shingles as a consequence of illnessYes


Against most teething problems can be vaccinated preventively - the classic vaccines. Unfortunately, in recent years there is increasing controversy between vaccine advocates and vaccine critics or even opponents. Since these discussions are often conducted with little objective and very dogmatic, they help a lot the parents who want the best for their child and have to decide between the individual arguments.

At the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Berlin sits a panel of experts appointed by the Federal Minister of Health, the Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO). This is constantly updated vaccination recommendations. If these have been included in the "public recommendations" by the state health authorities, statutory health insurance funds pay for the vaccinations and the state is liable for compensation for any vaccine damage, but the disadvantage is that only a generally valid vaccination scheme is available for all persons Age group is given, the individual situation of child and parents can not be considered.

Since the vaccinations are not mandatory in Germany, a deviation from the general scheme is possible at the request of the parents. Therefore, parents should discuss the pros and cons of vaccinations and individual procedures with their pediatrician.

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