Seasonal allergies, or hayfever, are very common at this time of year. Typical symptoms include watery, itchy, red eyes; a clear runny nose; sneezing; and an itchy palate or throat. The most common triggers are trees in the spring, grasses in the summer, and weeds in the fall!
Effective non-sedating medications are now available for children over the age of 2 without a prescription for treatment of seasonal allergies. These include loratadine (generic Claritin), Claritin, and Zyrtec. These medications can be given as needed for allergy symptoms. If you think your child has seasonal allergies and he or she is not responding to medication OR if you are not sure, please make an appointment in our office.
Many children do not require allergy testing if they respond to treatment with medication as needed.
See also: Eye - Allergy
Bronchiolitis (and RSV)
We are currently seeing cases of bronchiolitis, 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.
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.
See also: Colds | Sinus Pain or Congestion
We are currently seeing cases of croup, a viral respiratory illness that most often is caused by the parainfluenza virus. The cough and breathing that are associated with croup make it distinctly different from other viral colds or respiratory illnesses. This is because the parainfluenza virus infects and irritates the voice box, the vocal cords, and the windpipe. The cough is worse at night, and it has a distinct bark that sounds much like a seal's bark. Associated with the barky cough, your child may have difficulty when inhaling air, making a labored and whistling sound when breathing in -- called stridor. Humidified air and fluids often are the most helpful treatments.Please call the office to have your child evaluated by the doctor if he/she has symptoms of croup.
See also: Cough | Cough | Croup
We are currently seeing quite a bit of strep throat. 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 physician will require a swab of your child's throat, and antibiotics will be needed if the strep test is positive.
See also: Sore Throat | Strep Throat Exposure
Vomiting and Diarrhea
We are currently seeing viral illnesses that cause vomiting and diarrhea. Usually called viral gastroenteritis, the virus causes inflammation and irritation of the stomach and the intestines, leading to vomiting and diarrhea. 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.
See also: Diarrhea | Vomiting Without Diarrhea