Winter Viruses

Winter brings with it many colds and flu’s. Normal children under 5 years get 6-10 mild viral infections a year – one per month with a summer break! Viruses have no specific treatment and generally run their course and go away with no harm done. If your child gets a cold, cough, or congestion the most important thing is fluid. Make sure they are getting plenty to drink. Use a cool mist humidifier/vaporizer as long as they don’t have asthma. For small infants a bulb syringe to clear the nose will help. Be careful when using over the counter (OTC) decongestant/antihistamines– they have limited effectiveness and significant side effects. NEVER give any OTC to a child under 12 months of age, and NEVER give cough suppressants (“DM” medications) to anyone – suppressing a cough is a dangerous idea. Try chicken soup or honey/lemon tea for older children. Bring your child in for persistent symptoms (lasting more than 1-2 weeks), wheezing, difficulty feeding/eating, shortness of breath, or for complaints of pain. Remember, the most important treatment is tender loving care and time. Take care of yourself too! If you are sick, it will be that much harder to care for your child.