I just finished a long weekend of calls, and if the phone calls I received were indicators of what’s out there this winter (at least in the pediatric world,) there is plenty to go around. Now, it’s already been reported that the flu season is seeing its latest start in years, but this doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other viruses lurking around right now. In fact, because there is quite a variety of illnesses floating around, I thought it might be interesting for parents and fellow DailyStrength members alike to know what‘s out there. So in no particular order, this is what I’m seeing:
- Viruses with high fevers (and not much else): Kinda flu-like but testing negative for the flu. The children are typically feeling crummy but not to the extent of how the flu makes you feel. Maybe also some runny nose and cough but nothing else to get too excited about. Ultimately, in about 3-4 days it’s run its course.
- Stomach ailments: Now, I’m trying to speak broadly about these type of ailments, but bottom line, there are at least more than a couple of viruses/strains out there right now. Decent fever but clearly associated with a good amount of vomiting. But interestingly enough, the diarrhea part of the illnesses hasn’t been too bad (knock on wood.)
- RSV: In adults, and I’ve seen plenty of parents with this these last few weeks, it’s a pretty bad cold. In the younger ones (particularly the infants,) intense colds where the nasal secretions are thick and respiratory distress can often lead to hospitalization. Also, broncho-constriction (which can sound like the wheezing asthmatics have) is often seen in the infants.
- Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease (and other viral-associated rashes): Typically, mild viral like symptoms occur but what distinguishes it is the impressive rash in the mouth as well as on the hands and feet (and even sometimes the buttock area.) It’s not so common during the winter months but since we’ve had more 70 degree days here in Southern California than most places see in an entire year, it’s not so surprising how common it’s been. The oral lesions are what typically cause the problem because of the pain involved, but otherwise, children ultimately do pretty well with this illness just using some supportive care/hydration.
- Illnesses causing hives: Now I can’t say I’ve seen more of this than the common cold, but this is a whole lot more interesting than just your typical runny nose and mild cough. And since I’ve seen more than one case of this in the past couple of weeks, I felt it would be worthwhile making a note of this. Basically, this is a situation where a child has had a typical virus (even just a cold) and then all of sudden, hives (AKA urticaria) follow. And despite not knowing the exact cause (as is often the case with hives when foods aren’t involved,) clearly the cold symptoms preceding the hives points toward an infectious illnesses. Ultimately, the hives resolve but it may take a week or two.
So remember your good hand washing technique and hopefully a healthy Spring will be right around the corner.
- Dr. Jeremy
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