Common Childhood Illnesses
Many illnesses are considered "common" because they seem to be so widespread in our kindergartens and schools. The majority of our children catch such illnesses as colds and possibly strep throat by the time they are in elementary or junior high school. Several childhood issues are addressed below; however, it is important to keep in mind that children respond differently to the same illness and there is no substitute for a visit to your pediatrician's office if you have questions or concerns. A website that provides accurate and well documented information for parents concerning illness, treatments, and disease is www.UpToDate.Inc. Our physicians recommend this site for parents.
Common colds are caused by the Rhinovirus and there is, unfortunately, no cure. Treatment for colds include drinking plently of fluids and using Tylenol for aches and pains.
Characterized by infrequent bowel movements or stools that are too hard to pass easily. Your child may experience abdominal bloating, back pain or even blood in the stool. Causes include diets that lack proper amounts of fiber. Foods that are high in fiber include whole grain breads and cereals. A decrease in dairy products such as cheese and milk will reduce the risk of constipation in young children. Treatment for young children under the age of one year includes adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of dark Karo syrup (found in any grocery store) in 1 or 2 bottles per day. For the older child, Miralax, which is now available over the counter without a prescription, can be added to any beverage. Please call our office if you have any questions about proper dosing of the Karo syrup or Miralax.
Coughing is the body's way of removing foreign material and mucus from the lungs and airways. A productive cough produces phlegm or mucus and should not be suppressed since it clears mucus from the lungs. A nonproductive cough is dry and does not produce mucus or sputum. Some causes of nonproductive coughs can be allergies, the common cold, orexposure to dust, fumes or other environmental factors. Over the counter medications are available for coughs; however, please contact our office for proper dosage and type of medication if your child is under six years old.
Earaches sometimes occur following a recent cold or respiratory infection. Symptoms of an earache include: trouble sleeping, fever, irritability or pink eye (conjunctivitis). If your child has these symptom, please contact our office for an appointment.
Contrary to most beliefs, fever can be a good thing. Fever is the body's attempt to fight off an infection. Normally, if a child has a fever greater that 101 degrees, we advise to give Tylenol. If the fever lasts for more than 72 hours (3 days), please call our office for an appointment.
Tylenol and Motrin may be alternated in their administration every 3-4 hours for children over six months of age when the fever is in excess of 102.5 degrees. Fever affects children differently, some children will have a fever of 104 degrees and still be playful while others may only have a fever of 101 degrees and be lethargic. Parents, you know you child best, if you are concerned, please call our office.
STOMACH VIRUS—(GASTROENTERITIS )
Also called the “stomach flu”, gastroenteritis is caused by a variety of viruses resulting in vomiting, diarrhea or both. Treatment for a virus of this type includes: stopping all solid foods for 12 to 24 hours, giving plenty of clear liquids (Pedialyte, tea, Sprite) followed by popsicles and/or Jell-O as tolerated. Once vomiting has subsided, place your child on the BRAT Diet (B-bananas; R-rice; A-applesauce; T-toast). Avoid dairy products in children over two years old for at least 48 to 72 hours. If your child has more than 8 to 10 stools in a 24 hour period, notify our office. Over the counter medicines to treat the symptoms of a stomach virus include Emetrol for nausea and vomiting, and Immodium AD for diarrhea.
Symptoms of strep throat include fever, sore throat, headache and a fine rash. To avoid possible complications, strep throat must be diagnosed and treated by a physician. Please contact our office for an appointment if you suspect your child has this illness.
- Information provided on these pages is to be used as a guideline only.
- Any concerns that a parent has should be addressed directly with our office.
The information contained herein is provided by the Barton Schmitt, Pediatric Telephone Protocols