Osceola Pediatric ER: Watch out for the winter germs

As parents, our goal each day is to protect our kids from harm.

It’s why we remind them to look both ways before crossing the street, warn against jumping on the bed and drench their little hands in sanitizer every chance we get.

But no matter the lengths we go to, children do get sick. There are four common illnesses, besides the flu, that seem to spread more frequently in the winter months.

• RSV, Bronchiolitis – generally starts as a common cold, but can progress into a more serious respiratory condition with wheezing, difficulty breathing and dehydration.

For temporary relief, use a bulb syringe to extract nasal mucus then flush with a saline spray. Oxygen is generally given in more urgent cases.

• Croup – can strike suddenly with a distinct barking cough that mimics the sound of a seal.

Kids may also demonstrate a high-pitched noise while breathing. Sitting in a steamy bathroom can help relieve mild symptoms, but a nebulizer and steroids may be needed to treat more severe cases.

• Strep throat – an intense sore throat often accompanied by a fever and stomach ache. Antibiotics are needed to clear up this infection.

• Gastroenteritis – a stomach bug that causes vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.

Fluids are important to avoid dehydration; however, a sick child may have trouble keeping anything down. Start with a tablespoon of an electrolyte solution every 15 minutes.

While an unexpected visit to the pediatrician’s office may be inevitable this time of year, parents can take steps to keep their kids healthy.

That starts with getting plenty of rest and getting the daily recommended dose of vitamins and minerals.

The Pediatric ER at Osceola Regional Medical Center offers around the clock compassionate pediatric emergency care to infants, toddlers and adolescents.  The dedicated pediatric emergency department, separate from Osceola Regional Medical Center’s main ER, is staffed by physicians, nurses and clinical experts who specialize in pediatric care.  For more information, visit OsceolaRegional.com.

Dr. Amber Teague is the pediatric emergency room medical director at Osceola Regional Medical Center.