Tips for Managing Illness This Winter

Tips for dealing with child illnesses this winter

Winter can be a difficult month when it comes to battling illness and staying healthy. Pediatric offices can also be inundated with appointments to see sick children, leading to long wait times or some families not being able to see their doctors at all.

Glens Falls Pediatrics has shared a tip sheet with the Glens Falls School District to help families know when to call their doctor, when children can be treated at home without the need for an appointment, and when someone needs to be seen by a medical professional.

When Should My Child Be Seen For A Sick Visit?

That is a common question these days. Our community is currently bombarded with multiple illnesses that are really giving our little ones a run for their money. Because of this, our office is experiencing long phone wait times and extremely limited appointments that seem to go quicker than ever before.

We do appreciate the frustration this can cause as you advocate for your children. We want you to know that we are truly trying our best to care for all our patients. As we continue to navigate these unprecedented times, we hope to provide you with some tips on when it is appropriate to treat your child’s illness at home and when it is time to bring them in for evaluation.

When A Child’s Symptoms Should Be Managed At Home:

1. Cold symptoms that just recently started – tickle in their throat, runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, cough, mild fever, headache, muscle aches and loss of appetite. Symptoms will worsen over three to four days, come to a peak, and then start to improve.

Most colds improve after seven days.  Parents can help their kids by using nasal saline to help with congestion, run a cool-mist humidifier, treating them with Tylenol or Motrin for pain, and lots of rest, adequate nutrition and hydration. 

2. The stomach bug – tummy rest is the best. If they are vomiting, wait two hours after the last episode before you attempt any liquids. Go slow as you rehydrate them. Small sips every few hours or offering a Pedialyte pop will help. 

If they have diarrhea, your go to foods are bananas, rice, apple sauce, and toast.

When A Child Should Be Seen By A Medical Provider:

1. He or She has been running a fever for more than five complete days. A true fever is 100.4*F or higher. 

2. Severe ear pain, chest pain, sore throat, abdominal pain, etc., that is not alleviated with the use of Motrin or Tylenol. 

3. Concerns of dehydration. These include decreased urinary output, dry mouth, or lack of tears in young ones who are crying. Babies should be wetting diapers every six to eight hours. Older children should urinate every eight to 12 hours.

4. Breathing concerns, such as rapid respiratory rate, audible wheezing, or retractions. 

We are seeing lots of Flu right now – symptoms include fever, cough, congestion, sore throat, fatigue, muscle aches, vomiting and diarrhea.  We recommend keeping your child comfortable – fever and pain reducing medications, resting hydration and monitoring for those concerning symptoms above. 

Tamiflu is an option for high-risk patients, but is out of stock at most pharmacies, has many side effects, and only reduces the duration of the illness by a day. 

As a general rule, testing for flu is not necessary as we know it is very high in the area right now and it will not change the treatment we offer your child.  Fevers can last up to a week with the flu and a post viral cough can take four to six weeks to resolve.  

Children should be kept out of school until they have been fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications and if their symptoms are improving.