Wintertime brings cold weather, holidays, and sickness. Sorry to remind parents of this fact, but if you didn’t have enough to worry about with COVID-19, now you have to deal with the common winter illnesses parents should be aware of. Let’s review the list and what you should know.
Commonly known as the flu, it is mostly seasonal and comes around every fall, and usually lasts until early spring. This very contagious virus comes on quickly with a high fever, cough, body aches, congestion, and sometimes diarrhea and vomiting.
Best way to protect yourself and your children is to get the flu shot before the end of November. If someone does come down with the flu and you catch it early enough, a pediatrician at Westside Pediatrics can prescribe Tamiflu which aims to help symptoms.
The Common Cold
The common cold also comes from a virus, but it has less serious symptoms compared to flu. Although anyone can get a cold throughout the year, it seems to occur more frequently in winter due to children being indoors and in closer proximity to each other.
Colds present with a low grade fever, a runny nose, coughing, congestion, and a sore throat. Give your children plenty of fluids and keep them warm.
Sometimes known as a stomach “bug,” this is a virus that infects the intestinal system. It comes from a norovirus not related to the seasonal flu virus. It is very contagious, so encourage your children to wash their hands frequently during winter.
Vomiting, watery diarrhea, pain in the abdomen, headache, fatigue, and a mild fever are all symptoms of an intestinal virus. Some symptoms can last as long as a week.
It is vital to give your child fluids to maintain their hydration, especially lots of water and warm broth. Pedialyte is a good source since it will restore the electrolytes and fluids lost from vomiting and diarrhea.
Once the vomiting has ceased, you can begin to feed them easy to digest foods like bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.
Call Westside Pediatrics if symptoms persist.
Strep throat is different as it is bacterial in nature. This uncomfortable illness causes a severe sore throat, trouble swallowing, head and stomach aches, and fever. Sometimes a red rash can develop leading to scarlet fever.
Call Westside Pediatrics immediately if you suspect strep throat for a course of antibiotics. There are a number of serious complications if strep is not treated promptly.
RSV is an infection in the lungs and airways which can be quite serious in infants.
Symptoms may look like a cold at first but become much worse 3-7 days after the onset. They include cough, rapid breathing, wheezing from upper airway congestion, a runny nose, and fever.
Use a vaporizer to help keep the air moist, a bulb syringe and saline drops to reduce nasal fluids, and give your child plenty of fluids.
Preventing Winter Illnesses
It’s important to keep your children home if they are having symptoms. A few things to remember:
- Be sure they get enough rest.
- Frequent handwashing is always recommended.
- Be sure they are getting plenty of fluids and healthy foods.
- Everyone in the family should get their flu shot.