A cocktail of three respiratory viruses causes congestion in pediatric emergencies. What steps should you take to prevent infections during the cold season and react best if your child is sick?
They start like a cold, and yet they are not! Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza and COVID-19 often have the same early symptoms, namely cough, runny nose, fever and some difficulty breathing.
Of the three, RSV is perhaps the least known. Yet it has been circulating for decades, during each cold season. It is transmitted in the same way as a common cold. Most children get it at least once before the age of two. It is the first cause of hospitalization in children, well before the flu or other respiratory viruses.
“Even for a medical professional, it’s not easy to tell these viruses apart based on symptoms alone. For the parents, it is above all necessary to identify the clinical manifestations to know if the child should be seen by a professional”, says the Dr Olivier Drouin, pediatrician at Sainte-Justine Hospital and professor at the University of Montreal. He advises consulting a professional in the following four cases:
- If you have the impression that your child is lethargic, tired, and that you have difficulty waking him up;
- If he is no longer able to hydrate himself appropriately and urinates less than usual;
- If he seems to have trouble breathing;
- If the rectal temperature is over 38.5°C for three days.
Solutions at home
To help your baby, you can give him children’s acetaminophen and, if he is over one year old, children’s ibuprofen. Respect the doses indicated on the packaging, especially according to age, and do not hesitate to ask your pharmacist for advice.
You can also give your child a lukewarm bath, or refresh him with a damp washcloth. The fever will not drop, but his comfort will be better.
Your sick infant may lack of appetite and refuse to drink. Offer liquid and food in smaller amounts, but more often. If he does not want to eat, make him drink a rehydration liquid (available in pharmacies). Better a little cash than none at all.
The importance of blowing your baby’s nose
The Dr Drouin insists on the need for good nasal hygiene. “You can use a baby nasal aspirator to clear the airways and clean the nasal passages with a saline solution, especially before feeding and sleeping for the little ones. You will find optimal methods for blowing your baby’s nose properly on the CHU Sainte-Justine website. “It’s the basis of what we do at Sainte Justine, so it’s good for the house! “, he assures.
Your child is not sick? Protect it !
According to the Dr Drouin, vaccination remains the best protection. It is therefore important to vaccinate children properly, and not only against COVID-19. On this last point, he specifies that, even if most of them do well against the virus, it is still beneficial to administer the vaccine to protect them, especially as they tolerate it. generally fine. “It’s the same thing for influenza: the vaccine is available now and it helps prevent severe illnesses,” he maintains.
“We should also not forget the regular routine vaccinations at 2 months, 4 months, 12 months and 18 months, because these vaccines protect against a strain of pneumonia. Parents have fallen behind on these routine vaccinations due to the pandemic, but it’s important to keep them up to date to protect your children. Some vaccines can be administered simultaneously. » You can use ClicSanté or contact the CLSC in your area to make an appointment.
Adopt preventive actions
Whether you or your child are sick or not, get into the habit of washing your hands frequently and wearing a mask if you come into contact with sick people. “I would have hoped that we would learn from the pandemic, deplores the Dr Olivier Drouin. We must limit our essential contacts when we are sick, whether we are positive for COVID-19 or not. If you have to go out, but you cough or have a runny nose, wearing a mask will limit contamination. You must also wash your hands and have good nasal hygiene; these are basic gestures,” he concludes.
Given the hours of waiting in the emergency room and the difficulty in obtaining a medical appointment quickly, the proverb “prevention is better than cure” is now taking on its full meaning!
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