School's back in session and as teachers and students get back into fall routines, it's likely your kid will come home sick at some point. Dr. Brittany Daniels, a St. Anthony pediatrician, reports it's definitely the time of year for children to come down with illnesses. The most common things Daniels sees kids catch at school are stomach bugs and strep throat.
When kids come home sick, there are a few things to keep an eye on. Viruses are more common than bacterial illnesses such as strep throat, Daniels said. A virus can include symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, runny nose, cough, congestion and even matting or crusting around the eyes. If you're concerned your child might have strep throat, there are some other identifiers.
“If you look at the back of the throat, you may see white blotches on the tonsils,” she said. “Some things that make me think it’s more likely strep include a sore throat with decreased appetite, without the coughing and congestion.”
Viruses are treated with supportive care and will generally resolve within four to five days. A bacterial illness like strep throat is treated with antibiotics.
She outlined four simple tips for parents handling these illnesses:
- For a cough, if your child is older than five, you may give them over the counter cough medicine. Cough medicines however are not recommended for kids under five, as they are not FDA approved for this age range.
- For vomiting and diarrhea, avoid any medicines to slow the diarrhea such as Pepto-Bismol. It is best to let the diarrhea run its course, to avoid the bowel wanting to stop working for a short period of time.
- For a sore throat, cold liquids can sometimes ease the pain. Your child may not want to eat during this period, but please make sure they drink enough to stay hydrated.
- When taking an antibiotic, a child should not go back to school until they have had 24 hours of antibiotics. They should start feeling better and improving after 48 hours of taking antibiotics.
Flu is another concern this time of year and we outlined three simple steps to help you throughout flu season here.