Children can get sick at any time of the year, but the Wintertime is especially germy. From flu season to daycares, kids (and adults) are more likely to get a contagious virus. With COVID-19 on the top of everyone’s mind and the vaccine still months away, staying safe during flu season is our number one priority. AFC Urgent Care West Hartford can provide you with all the information you need to keep your kids safe this season.
Influenza in Kids
The flu is most common in the general population from November to March every year. This can affect millions of people each year, but the severity of symptoms is what to be concerned with. It is caused by inhaling respiratory droplets from the nose or mouth from someone else nearby who is sick. Symptoms of the flu usually come on all at once, and they can begin just two days after initial exposure. While the virus typically starts with a fever, there are other symptoms that immediately follow:
- Headache, muscle aches, or ear pain
- Sore throat
- Nausea or vomiting
The best way to avoid catching the flu is by getting a flu shot. Even if you still catch the flu, getting the shot will decrease your symptoms severely. At-home treatments and OTC medications can help with symptoms of the flu.
Strep throat is another very common illness that can be passed among children in schools and daycares. It is caused by an infected person coughing, sneezing, or even just talking to nearby people. Strep can be diagnosed through a rapid strep test screen and a culture that shows results in a few days. From there, if the test is positive, our physicians can provide antibiotics. In addition to a sore throat, a child may also experience red, swollen tonsils with white spots, a fever, and/or headache. If there is a cough or runny nose accompanied by a sore throat, it is likely not strep and could be the flu or another illness.
Pneumonia Symptoms in Kids
Pneumonia is more often a complication from other illnesses that were left untreated. Pneumonia can be recognized as starting like a cold and then developing into worse symptoms. If your child was sick and began to get better but then got worse quickly, it may be pneumonia, and a doctor visit can help diagnose. Croup, the flu, and RSV are all common viruses that develop into pneumonia. Symptoms of pneumonia include fast breathing, difficulty breathing, fever, cough, and/or a stuffy nose. OTC medications can be used to alleviate symptoms, but do not give your child any medication without speaking with a healthcare provider first. Additionally, pneumonia is treated by getting plenty of rest, drinking clear fluids such as water or soup, and using a humidifier at night to help with a cough or sore throat.
Be sure to recognize when symptoms are becoming severe. Diagnosis can happen at AFC Urgent Care West Hartford, but if your child is having difficulty breathing, an ER visit may be necessary. Learn the different instances when you should visit an urgent care or ER here.