Now that school is back in session, kids are exposed to more germs. While back to school illnesses and infections are inevitable, you can always help prevent sickness by encouraging your kids to wash their hands regularly. If your child does happen to catch something at school, we always recommend you visit us at any of our three locations so we can help them start feeling better, faster!
Here are six common illnesses and infections we see now that school is in session.
Most people get colds in the winter and spring, but it is possible to get a cold any time of the year.
Symptoms usually include:
- sore throat
- runny nose
- body aches
Most people recover within about 7-10 days. However, people with weakened immune systems, asthma, or respiratory conditions may develop serious illness, such as bronchitis or pneumonia.
There is no cure for a cold. To feel better, you should get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids. Over-the-counter medicines may help ease symptoms but will not make your cold go away any faster.
You should seek medical advice from a provider if you or your child has one or more of these conditions:
- symptoms that last more than 10 days
- symptoms that are severe or unusual
- if your child is younger than 3 months of age and has a fever or is lethargic
You should also seek medical advice right away if you are at high risk for serious flu complications and get flu symptoms such as fever, chills, and muscle or body aches.
In general, strep throat is a mild infection, but it can be very painful.
The most common symptoms of strep throat include:
- Sore throat that can start very quickly
- Pain when swallowing
- Red and swollen tonsils, sometimes with white patches or streaks of pus
- Tiny, red spots (petechiae — pronounced pi-TEE-kee-eye) on the roof of the mouth (the soft or hard palate)
- Swollen lymph nodes in the front of the neck
Other symptoms may include headache, stomach pain, nausea, or vomiting — especially in children. Someone with strep throat may also have a rash known as scarlet fever.
Only a rapid strep test or throat culture can determine if group A strep is the cause. A doctor cannot tell if someone has strep throat just by looking at his or her throat.Doctors treat strep throat with antibiotics. Either penicillin or amoxicillin are recommended as a first choice for people who are not allergic to penicillin. Doctors can use other antibiotics to treat strep throat in people who are allergic to penicillin.
Benefits of antibiotics include:
- Decreasing how long someone is sick
- Decreasing symptoms (feeling better)
- Preventing the bacteria from spreading to others
- Preventing serious complications like rheumatic fever
Someone who tests positive for strep throat but has no symptoms (called a “carrier”) usually does not need antibiotics.
Infectious mononucleosis, also called “mono,” is a contagious disease. It is common among teenagers and young adults, especially college students. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is the most common cause of infectious mononucleosis. At least one out of four teenagers and young adults who get infected with EBV will develop infectious mononucleosis.
- extreme fatigue
- sore throat
- head and body aches
- swollen lymph nodes in the neck and armpits
- swollen liver or spleen or both
Symptoms may develop slowly and may not all occur at the same time.
There is no vaccine to protect against infectious mononucleosis. You can help protect yourself by not kissing or sharing drinks, food, or personal items, like toothbrushes, with people who have infectious mononucleosis.You can help relieve symptoms of infectious mononucleosis by—
- drinking fluids to stay hydrated
- getting plenty of rest
- taking over-the-counter medications for pain and fever
If you have infectious mononucleosis, you should not take penicillin antibiotics like ampicillin or amoxicillin. Based on the severity of the symptoms, a healthcare provider may recommend treatment of specific organ systems affected by infectious mononucleosis.
The head louse, is a parasitic insect that can be found on the head, eyebrows, and eyelashes of people. Head lice feed on human blood several times a day and live close to the human scalp. Head lice are not known to spread disease.
Head lice infestations can be asymptomatic, particularly with a first infestation or when an infestation is light. Itching (“pruritus”) is the most common symptom of head lice infestation and is caused by an allergic reaction to louse bites. It may take 4–6 weeks for itching to appear the first time a person has head lice.
Other symptoms may include:
- a tickling feeling or a sensation of something moving in the hair;
- irritability and sleeplessness; and
- sores on the head caused by scratching. These sores caused by scratching can sometimes become infected with bacteria normally found on a person’s skin.
Treatment for head lice is recommended for persons diagnosed with an active infestation. All household members and other close contacts should be checked; those persons with evidence of an active infestation should be treated. Treatment requires using an Over-The-Counter (OTC) or prescription medication.
Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is one of the most common and treatable eye conditions in the world. It can affect both children and adults. It is an inflammation of the thin, clear tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid (conjunctiva) and the white part of the eyeball. This inflammation makes blood vessels more visible and gives the eye a pink or reddish color.
Symptoms may vary, but usually include:
- pink or red color in the white of the eye(s)
- Swelling of the conjunctiva (the thin layer that lines the white part of the eye and the inside of the eyelid) and/or eyelids
- Increased tear production
- Feeling like a foreign body is in the eye(s) or an urge to rub the eye(s)
- Itching, irritation, and/or burning
- Discharge (pus or mucus)
- Crusting of eyelids or lashes, especially in the morning
- Contact lenses that feel uncomfortable and/or do not stay in place on the eye
- Depending on the cause, other symptoms may occur.
Most cases of viral conjunctivitis are mild. The infection will usually clear up in 7 to 14 days without treatment and without any long-term consequences. However, in some cases, viral conjunctivitis can take 2 to 3 weeks or more to clear up. Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic, usually given topically as eye drops or ointment, for bacterial conjunctivitis. Antibiotics may help shorten the length of infection, reduce complications, and reduce the spread to others.
The Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. There are two main types of the flu virus: Types A and B. The influenza A and B viruses that routinely spread in people (human influenza viruses) are responsible for seasonal flu epidemics each year.
People who are sick with flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
- Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
Flu signs and symptoms usually come on suddenly. Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
Take Antivirals Drugs, if prescribed by a doctor and be sure to take everyday precautions to protect others while sick
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like flu.
- Stay home until you are better
If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.
Who To See
If your child happens comes down with a cold or if you suspect strep throat remember our medical teams in Brighton, Fort Lupton and Northglenn are always here to treat them and help get them back to full health! To check wait times and sign in before you arrive click here.