Healthy Perspectives - Winter 2013 - (Page 5)
Is your little one under the weather? Use this guide to ID the cause
very parent knows kids and runny noses go hand in hand—literally. The combination of immature immune systems, lots of contact with other children and tiny hands that love to touch makes it easy for germs to spread. Dan Schminke, M.D., full-time family practice physician at Meeker Memorial Clinic in Dassel, comments on four common illnesses kids encounter, and what to look for.
Dan Schminke, M.D., with patient Kensley. You can download a Meeker Memorial Clinic services card for more information at meekermemorial.org. Then click “Meeker Clinic in Dassel” in the “Services” drop-down menu.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV): A virus affecting the
lungs and airways. Typically, this peaks during winter months. Symptoms include profuse, clear runny nose, coughing, wheezing, sneezing, fever and loss of appetite. “Infants might also exhibit irritability, decreased activity and difﬁculty breathing. However, most cases are mild and self-limited,” Schminke says. How it’s treated: There is no speciﬁc treatment; it typically goes away in 10 to 14 days. When to worry: “Warning signs would be shortness of breath, working hard to breathe, poor feeding or color changes,” Schminke says. “Babies younger than 3 months old, premature infants or those with congenital heart disease are more likely to have difﬁculties.”
How it’s treated: Because it goes away on its own, there is no speciﬁc treatment. Manage symptoms accordingly. The rash on the body may last up to two weeks. When to worry: “Fifth disease is usually mild but may have implications for pregnant women, potentially causing anemia in the fetus,” Schminke says. “If you are pregnant and your child has ﬁfth disease, talk to your doctor.”
Pertussis (Whooping Cough): A highly contagious respiratory infection resulting in uncontrollable coughing spells followed by deep, whooping inhales. How it’s treated: Antibiotics may reduce the severity of the infection and prevent its spread. A cool-mist vaporizer can soothe breathing passages and loosen mucus. “This is a preventable disease with routine immunization,” Schminke says. When to worry: Infants younger than 1 year may have severe respiratory complications during coughing spells. “This is the reason for adults and children to be immunized to minimize spread to young infants,” Schminke says. “Monitor your child’s breathing and hydration closely.”
Fifth Disease: “A viral illness causing a mild rash, accompanied by a fever, that makes the cheeks red [the so-called “slapped cheek” appearance], followed by the appearance of a lacey rash on the rest of the body,” Schminke says.
CHECK YOUR CHILD’S SYMPTOMS ONLINE
Find out what’s ailing your young one with a free symptom checker at healthychildren.org under “Tips & Tools.” You can also download it as an app for your smartphone.
Croup: A barking cough caused by inﬂammation in the large airways. “Symptoms may also include sore throat, hoarse voice or low-grade fever,” Schminke says. How it’s treated: “A cool-mist vaporizer may help relieve inﬂammation and loosen dried mucus. Also, warmly bundling the child, then exposing him or her to cool outside air frequently helps.” When to worry: “Any child who has to work hard to breathe should be seen by a doctor immediately,” Schminke says. 1
CALL Meeker Memorial Clinic at 320-275-4330 for same-day appointments
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Healthy Perspectives - Winter 2013
Healthy Perspectives - Winter 2013
Common Kid Conditions
Options for women facing hysterectomy
Tips for getting a good night’s sleep
Healthy Perspectives - Winter 2013