Children are more likely to catch contagious illnesses during the cold winter months than at any other time of year. Between going to school and daycare, there are plenty of opportunities for children to get sick from each other. AFC Urgent Care Norwalk is here to help you understand the differences between each illness to help keep your loved ones healthy. Our physicians are trained to give you the best care for a variety of illnesses.
Cold and flu symptoms
Both colds and the flu are highly contagious, especially during flu season. The best way to stay safe from the flu is by getting an annual flu shot. Both illnesses can last up to two weeks, but symptoms of the flu are more severe than a cold. Symptoms of both diseases can include:
- Runny nose or congestion
- Sore throat
- Possible nausea
Flu symptoms will show up suddenly, whereas a cold is more gradual. Be sure your little one gets as much rest as possible, as well as maintaining hydration. Nausea is not a common symptom of the common cold, so if your child is showing this symptom, it may be the flu.
RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, is a respiratory illness that can be very serious for infants. Signs your child has RSV is coughing that may cause wheezing, runny nose, and fever. These symptoms are very similar to the common cold, but the cough and congestion will be much worse. There is no specific treatment for RSV, but using a humidifier while they sleep can help break up the congestion. Additionally, keeping them in upright positions while awake can make them feel more comfortable. RSV typically resolves itself within one to two weeks.
Symptoms of strep throat
Strep throat is another extremely common illness that affects both children and teenagers. It can be very painful, but if prescribed antibiotics, it can be resolved within one day. Symptoms of strep typically include:
- Sore throat
- Trouble swallowing
A runny nose and nasal congestion typically do not happen with strep throat. If your child is experiencing those symptoms as well, it may be a different illness. Once antibiotics are started, symptoms will quickly resolve themselves. Before antibiotics are prescribed, medicine such as ibuprofen can help with the pain.
Stomach bug symptoms
One final common illness is the stomach bug. These symptoms are typically apparent and do not require a diagnosis. These are very contagious and can show a variety of symptoms. These signs include:
- Mild fever
These symptoms typically show up within 12 to 24 hours after exposure and only last about one to two days. It is important to wash your hands frequently if your child has a stomach bug, as they are very contagious. Again, rest can help speed up the recovery time, but hydration is extremely important with any illness that causes vomiting. Give your child foods that are easy to digest, such as crackers or chicken broth.
For more information on the treatment and prevention of these illnesses, call AFC Urgent Care Norwalk today!