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Colds & Flu: A Parent’s Guide

A runny nose, complaints about aches and pains, a nagging cough — at what point do you take your child to the doctor? If your child is younger than six months, the go-/don’t-go to the doctor decision is easy: you goconsult a doctor — when dealing with an immature immune system, it’s. It’s always better to err on the side of caution. But how do you know what to do with older babies and young children?

When to visit the pediatrician

When evaluating fevers, parents can follow some general rules. Most doctors define a fever as an oral temperature above 99.4ºF, or a rectal temperature above 100.4ºF. For infants three months and younger, consult your doctor when your child experiences a rectal fever temperature of 99.5ºF for more than 24 hours. Babies this young can grow become severely sick ill quickly; it is essential that you keep them under a doctor’s vigilancein close touch with your doctor. Babies from three months to two years old should also visit a pediatrician when a fever exceeds 102ºF.

When your child’sAll other fevers does not necessitate a doctor’s care,. In these cases, just provide your child with the best remedy is rest, lots of fluids, and acetaminophen or ibuprofen. When treating a fever, always remember that a rise in body temperature is an indication that your child’s body is working hard to fight an infection. Never give aspirin to children younger than 16 years of age, because in rare instances it can cause Reye’s Syndrome, a serious illness condition that can lead to death. When treating a fever, always remember that a rise in body temperature is an indication that your child’s body is working hard to fight an infection.

As its name suggests, the common cold is the most widespread ailment plaguing affecting kids in the winter months. A cold does not necessitate a doctor visit. A runny nose helps wash a virus out of the sinuses and nose, and you can soothe the child with a cool mist vaporizer and decongestant. For aA sore throat, take your child to a doctor to rule out strep throat. The common sore throat should be nursed with warm salt-water gargling, throat lozenges, and acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Although colds, coughs sore throats, and the flu can last two debilitating weeks or longer, there is no known cure since they are viral infections.

When medication is prescribed

When an illness is diagnosed as a bacterial infection, such as the common otitis media ear infection (otitis media), prescription medications are often necessary and effective. Most commonly prescribed is the antibiotic, amoxicillin, an antibiotic.

Before prescribing any antibiotics, many doctors will see how the ailment progresses over the course of a couple of days because the majority of bacterial infections only last 48 to 72 hours. That’s why I like to give my patients an “ear warranty” when dealing with ear infections. This entitles them to a free second visit within 48 to 72 hours for another examination and prescription if their ear infection has not healed. Some doctors prefer to write prescriptions and tell parents not to fill them unless the ear infection persists for another three days. By taking antibiotics only when most necessary, you can better prevent your child from developing antibiotic resistancewill help prevent the rise of resistance to antibiotics among bacteria.™

Avoiding colds and flu

Unfortunately, there is no absolute way to prevent children from getting sick, but parents can take a few simple steps to reduce their children’s risk. Talk to your doctor about all vaccination options, especially a flu vaccination, which is highly advisable for babies kids 6-35 months, and all children with chronic illnesses. During the current vaccine shortage, parents should be aware that children at high-risk will take priority. If your child is high-risk, it is imperative that you discuss this with your pediatrician.

Parents can also read about the latest medical findings, such as the regularly updated guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). Parents should never hesitate to ask questions of their child’s pediatrician, and they should try to stay current on the latest medical developments. Medical guidelines are often in flux; the recent flu vaccine development is only one case in point.

LAURA Popper, M.D., named one of the 10 best pediatricians in New York City by New York magazine, is a pediatrician in private practice. Dr. Popper sits on the board of the Mt. Sinai Children’s Center Foundation and is also a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the New York Academy of Medicine.


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