One of the rites of passage of parenting is dealing with childhood illnesses. At AAA Pediatrics in Woodbridge, Virginia, our staff's mission is to support parents and help children as they navigate pediatric issues like the common cold, flu, strep throat, and pertussis. Below, Dr. Oscar Sugastti discusses these illnesses and how they're treated.
Who hasn't experienced the runny nose, sneezing, coughing and achy feelings that the common cold brings? According to the Centers for Disease Control, a common cold is the most common infectious disease that a human can get, and kids are more likely to pick up the viruses that cause it due to an immature immune system and less stringent hygiene. To lessen their chances of getting a cold or passing one to others, your Woodbridge pediatrician advises parents to make sure kids are washing their hands frequently and staying home from school when they're exhibiting the signs of a cold.
The flu, short for influenza, can be thought of like a major cold. Both are caused by viruses and have similar symptoms, although the fever with the flu is typically higher and the symptoms tend to start with a dry, scratchy throat, while colds typically begin with a runny nose. Flu vaccinations from your Woodbridge pediatrician can lessen the likelihood of getting the flu, but if your child should happen to have it, there are anti-viral medications available to shorten the infection's duration and help prevent complications like pneumonia. It should be noted that the "stomach flu" is not actually caused by an influenza virus; other viruses or bacterial infections are typically responsible for nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea that accompany this illness.
One of the most common illnesses that keep kids out of school and keep your Woodbridge pediatrician busy is strep throat, a bacterial illness that is caused by the Group A strain of streptococcus bacteria. Diagnosed from testing a cotton swab that is touched to the tonsils; strep's classic features include a sore throat, fever, and headache. A round of antibiotics generally clears up strep in a week or so.
Also known as pertussis, whooping cough is a bacterial infection that starts out with similar symptoms to a cold: fever, runny nose and cough. However, the cough associated with pertussis progresses into uncontrollable coughing fits that can last as long as 10 weeks. The gasping breaths that people take in between coughing can make a "whoop" sound, hence the nickname. While pertussis is often simply annoying for adults, it can be life-threatening for very young children.
For diagnosis and treatment of these and many other pediatric illnesses, contact AAA Pediatrics in Woodbridge, Virginia, to make an appointment with Dr. Sugastti!