Viruses!

RSV  season is here! Hospitals in at least 36 states are already feeling the crush, and 71% of 40,000 US pediatric hospitals are filled. What’s scarier than these statistics is that we are still early in the season. Why is this happening? Well, for the last two years we stayed away from everyone, wore masks, and kids did not attend daycare or school. This means children were NOT introduced to common viruses like RSV, Influenza (Flu), Coronavirus, COVID, Parainfluenza, Enterovirus, Rhinovirus, and more. Low-level infections are vital for slowly building natural immunity. We have now opened back up and children are experiencing ALL these viruses and more all at the same time without the same kind of natural immunity.

Typically, before the pandemic, it is standard for children, especially those who attend daycare, to get 12 “colds” (or more) a year. This is why it seems like they always have a runny nose – because they do. The positive side of this is natural immunity. Every time they experience a new virus, their body builds up an immune response. The next time their body encounters the same virus, the symptoms are abated.  

To complicate things further, viruses are now being seen out of their seasons. Rhinovirus infections are in September followed by the Parainfluenza virus in October and November. The winter months bring in RSV, Influenza, and the common cold Coronavirus. Adenovirus is present year-round and we run into another small wave of Rhinovirus in March and April. We finished up with Enterovirus in the summer and COVID-19 is all year long.

I know the names of these viruses may sound a little scary but they all typically present as “colds”. Fever, nasal discharge, nasal congestion, coughing, and fatigue are how they present in our kids and us. At times, you may see a little diarrhea and vomiting. Within 3-5 days, your little ones should be back to normal. (If not, let your doctor now.) Coughing… now that is different issue. That little annoying cough can linger for 4 weeks. I know! It can last 4 weeks but you should hear it getting better. If the cough worsens and the fever develops or reappears, tell a medical professional.

Prevention:
Appropriate amounts of sleep
Healthy Diets (increase Vitamin C, add a 1 serving of mushrooms can increase your IgA for 2 weeks!)
Stress reduction  (Yoga, Meditation, Move your body!)
Vitamin D supplements
Get immunized (Flu and COVID)
Hand Washing
Don't touch your face
Stay away from people who are sick
Stay home if you are sick
Wear a mask in crowded areas

Treatment:
- Fever: Tylenol OR Motrin for fever
- Nasal issues: Saline nasal drops, irrigation, humidifiers, adequate hydration
- Cough: warm hydration, honey * (1 teaspoon of straight honey or added to fluid)
- Fatigue: rest (Netflix and Chill but kid's version)
-Vomiting: Ginger, let their tummies rest from food
- Feeling “crummy”: Lay on mommy and daddy (sorry parents, you may get it too)


Seek help for:
Prolonged high fever for several days
Difficulty breathing (ER!)
Turning blue or any discoloration (ER!)


*HONEY CAN ONLY BE GIVEN TO CHILDREN OVER THE AGE OF 1. THIS IS IMPORTANT.