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Ways to prevent cold, flu in children

News Release 



November 17, 2006                             Contact:           Victoria Tedeschi

Public Relations Specialist

Adventist Midwest Health



Ways to prevent cold, flu in children

this winter season


Hinsdale, IL – For many parents, it’s the time of year when they start seeing stuffy noses, sneezing and body aches. But there are things that can be done to help prevent the spread of upper respiratory infections.

            Most infections are seen in the fall and winter, with the majority of cases being seen in late winter, said Eileen Mahoney, M.D., a pediatric otolaryngolist who treats patients at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital.  “Children in daycare or school are frequently infected and can pass these infections onto their parents or other family members,” she said.

            Common cold symptoms usually occur two to three days after exposure. Colds typically last 6.6 days in kids aged 1 or 2 who are cared for at home and 8.9 days for children in daycare. In adults, symptoms can last for three to 14 days, but improvement usually begins within a week, Mahoney said.

            Infleunza can be more severe, and every year more than 200,000 people in the United States are hospitalized with influenza. Symptoms of influenza include a fever over 101 degrees, chills, sweats, dry cough, headache, fatigue, muscle aches and pains. Children may also have diarrhea or vomiting.

            Upper respiratory tract infections can lead to other complications such as ear infections, bacterial sinusitis, or even pneumonia, Mahoney said. “The child needs to be seen and evaluated if the respiratory illness is continuing, and if home remedies such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, fluids, rest and humidity are not helping,” she said.

            There are several things that can be done to avoid risk of upper respiratory infection, Mahoney said. These include:

·         Avoiding exposure to sick people;

·         Not bringing young babies or children along on routine errands such as grocery shopping;

·         Handwashing;

·         Coughing onto arm not hand;

·         Single use of tissues for nose blowing;

·         Flu vaccine;

·         Good rest, hydration and home humidification.

            “It’s very important to practice good self care during the respiratory season,” Mahoney said. “You can be much healthier during this season if you eat right, get proper rest and wash your hands.”