What is Going Around in the Community?
Bronchiolitis (and RSV)
Bronchiolitis is a viral illness (sometimes caused by RSV -- "respiratory syncytial virus") that occurs most often in children under age 2. This virus typically occurs in epidemics during the winter and the early spring. "Bronchioles" are the smallest airways in our lungs, and "itis" means these airways are inflamed, or irritated, by the virus. When these airways get inflamed in young children, they often will start to "wheeze," meaning air and the oxygen in it have difficulty getting through these narrowed, swollen airways. With a case of bronchiolitis, your infant's symptoms may begin with a runny nose, a fever, and a harsh, tight cough. If it progresses to wheezing, your child may start to breathe rapidly and "pull" with his/her abdomen and rib muscles with each breath. Please call us for an appointment if your child's breathing becomes labored or difficult. If your infant was born premature (under 32 weeks) or has cardiac or lung conditions, your child is at a greater risk of complications from RSV bronchiolitis. A product containing a specific antibody to RSV has been approved for monthly administration to help prevent RSV infection in these high-risk children. This form of antibody against RSV has the advantage of being able to be administered once a month by intramuscular injection. In large, controlled studies, this product has been shown to decrease hospitalization from RSV infections in these high-risk infants.
See Also : Wheezing (Other Than Asthma)
Colds and Upper Respiratory Infections
Colds, upper respiratory infections, and URIs are common terms we use to describe viral illnesses that cause nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, fever, and cough. The fever usually lasts for 2-3 days, and the cough with congestion and runny nose may last for 5-10 days. The typical preschool-age child may experience 6-10 colds per year. Most colds resolve on their own with rest and fluids, but some may lead to ear infection, sinus infection, asthma attack, or other complications. If you are concerned about the possibility of one of these complications, please have your child seen in our office for an evaluation.
Among the many viruses which cause respiratory illness, the influenza virus (commonly called "the flu") can be particularly severe. Infection with the influenza virus causes sudden onset of a fever, chills, dry cough, and muscle aches. Other symptoms include headache, fatigue, sore throat, and nasal congestion. Some children are at increased risk of more serious illness from influenza, because of conditions such as diabetes, asthma, immunity problems, or being treated with immune-suppressing medications. They are especially vulnerable to complications, and should get vaccinated as soon as possible. The "Seasonal Flu Shot" or the "Seasonal Nasal FluMist" that has been administered to many people this year protects against Influenza A and B (including H1N1 like variation). Please get a vaccination if you and your child have not yet had it this year!
See Also : Influenza - Seasonal
"Pink Eye," also known as conjunctivitis, can be caused by either a viral or bacterial infection. Viral pink eye typically appears as red and watery eyes, and is accompanied by common viral cold or upper respiratory symptoms. This type of pink eye should resolve itself as the viral cold improves. Bacterial pink eye usually appears as red eyes with yellow or green discharge. Upon awakening, the eyes often are matted shut with dried discharge. This type of pink eye also may be associated with a viral cold, but the bacterial eye infection itself requires antibiotic eye drops to cure. Good handwashing is very important because both viral and bacterial pink eye infections are very contagious. Call our office if you believe your child might have pink eye.
See Also : Eye - Pus or Discharge
If your child has a fever, sore throat, headache, or stomachache without any other viral symptoms like congestion or cough, it may be strep throat. Bacteria, called Group A strep, cause this type of sore throat. To diagnose strep throat, your provider will require a swab of your child's throat, and antibiotics will be needed if the strep test is positive. Call our office if you think your child may have strep throat.
Vomiting and Diarrhea
Vomiting and diarrhea is usually caused by viral gastroenteritis which causes inflammation and irritation of the stomach and the intestines. This illness, often called the "stomach flu" typically lasts 1-2 days, with diarrhea lasting a few days longer. It is important to make sure that your child does not get dehydrated with this condition. Offer Gatorade, Pedialyte, or warm soda pop in small amounts every 20 minutes until your child can keep liquids down. If they are unable to keep liquids down, back off for 2 hours. the try the small amounts again. If your child has few wet diapers and does not make tears, or appears limp or lethargic, they may be dehydrated and we will need to see them in our office.