Medical City Healthcare - January 31, 2020

Kids aren’t known for their willingness to share … unless we’re talking about colds, flu and other sickness-inducing germs. In fact, during the winter months, kids excel at passing around viral and bacterial infections like they’re going out of style. Unfortunately they’re not—and being cooped up indoors only makes it that much easier for kids to share them. Here’s how you can spot the symptoms of 3 of the most common winter illnesses in kids and how to treat them so they won’t turn into something worse.

It’s not always easy to know when kids are too sick for school or day care, but sometimes it’s necessary to help them recover and to keep them from infecting others. If your child doesn’t get better or continues to get worse, pediatric urgent care can be a great option.

Medical City Children’s Hospital Urgent Care clinics are 100% kid-focused and offer expert diagnosis and treatment designed exclusively to meet the needs of children. Medical City’s Web Check-In® allows you to save your spot in line and reduce your wait time in the clinic. CareNow Urgent Care clinics treat patients 3 months and older and also offer Web Check-In®. Both choices are convenient for parents, with extended and weekend hours, walk-in appointments, quick onsite testing and immunizations, including flu shots.

Always call 911 or head to the nearest ER if you think your child is having a medical emergency, including breathing problems, high fever, uncontrolled vomiting or other severe or unusual symptoms.

The common cold

How common is the common cold? So common that, according to the CDC, it’s the No. 1 reason that kids miss school (and adults miss work). Here’s what you need to know:

  • Symptoms: Sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, sneezing, coughing, headaches, body aches
  • Causes: Viruses—most commonly rhinoviruses—which means there is no cure, including antibiotics
  • Treatment: Rest, fluids, over-the-counter medications to relieve symptoms
  • Prevention: Wash hands, avoid touching face, avoid sick people, disinfect frequently touched surfaces
  • When to see a doctor: If symptoms last longer than 10 days, if symptoms are severe or unusual; if your child is 3 months or younger and is lethargic or has a fever (which can indicate flu)

Flu (aka influenza)

Flu and the common cold are both contagious viral respiratory illness with similar symptoms. Fever is often the best indicator that your child has the flu and not a cold. Having the flu can raise your risk of developing pneumonia at any age.

  • Symptoms: Fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, headaches, muscle or body aches, fatigue, vomiting/diarrhea (more common in children)
  • Causes: Influenza viruses, which means there is no cure, including antibiotics; however, prescription antiviral drugs can make the illness shorter and less severe
  • Treatment: Rest, fluids, over-the-counter medications to relieve symptoms; antivirals if prescribed by your child’s pediatrician
  • Prevention: Get an annual flu shot (ages 6 months and older), wash hands, avoid touching face, avoid sick people, disinfect frequently touched surfaces
  • When to see a doctor: : If symptoms don’t improve within 7 days, if symptoms are severe or unusual; if your child is 3 months or younger and is lethargic or has a fever

RSV/bronchiolitis

RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) is a common respiratory virus responsible for many respiratory conditions, including the common cold, croup and bronchitis. It usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms in most people, but for older adults, children and people with weakened immune systems, it can be quite serious. In infants under 12 months old, RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways of the lungs), pneumonia (infection of the lungs) and hospitalizations.

  • Symptoms: Stuffy/runny nose, cough, wheezing, reduced appetite, fever
  • Causes: RSV is a virus, which means there is no cure, including antibiotics; however, the CDC notes that a cure is in the works and there is a series of shots (called palivizumab) that can protect some babies
  • Treatment: Rest, fluids, over-the-counter medications to relieve symptoms; talk to your pediatrician about palivizumab if you are concerned about your child’s RSV risk
  • Prevention: Wash hands, avoid touching face, avoid sick people, disinfect frequently touched surfaces
  • When to see a doctor: : If your child is having trouble breathing or not drinking enough fluids; if symptoms haven’t improved after 1 to 2 weeks or if symptoms worsen; if your child is 3 months or younger and is lethargic or has a fever

For all your children’s urgent care needs, you can trust the pediatric experts at Medical City Children’s Hospital Urgent Care and CareNow Urgent Care clinics.

If your child is having complications from a respiratory illness, one of our many Medical City Healthcare emergency locations or Accredited Chest Pain Centers has you covered. With average wait times posted online, if you do have an emergency, you can spend less time waiting and more time on the moments that matter most.

Find a fast Medical City ER near you or visit Medical City Virtual Care for non-emergency medical treatment from your computer or smartphone.

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