When kids are not feeling well, our first instinct is to take them to see their pediatrician. We take them to the doctor’s office and hope the doctor can give them something…anything. After the exam, you find out your child has a virus.
A virus is a specific type of infection that cannot be treated with an antibiotic. Viruses cause:
Your body will fight a virus
When your child has a virus, the main thing you can do is provide symptomatic care. This includes:
- Making sure your child is resting.
- Making sure your child is drinking fluids.
- Providing a humidifier or vaporizer for congestion.
- Suctioning their nose for congestion.
- Providing saline drops or mist.
- Over-the-counter medicines for symptom relief.
There are many types of viruses
More than 30 different types of viruses exist – each with different symptoms. Despite this, your child’s pediatrician probably will not diagnose the specific type of virus.
“There are viral panels, but you cannot get the results very fast. Also, once you do find out what type of virus it is, there isn’t much you can do about it,” Henry said.
In most cases, finding the type of virus will not change the outcome. Performing the test also increases the cost of care. For these reasons, viral panels are not typically used.
Call your doctor before coming in
If your child is sick, they should stay home until they feel better.
“Every time your child goes out, you are exposing people to those germs,” Henry said.
If you have questions or concerns about your child being sick, you can call you child’s pediatrician. They can help assess your child and decide if you should bring them in to see a provider.
When your child is sick, everyone in the household should wash their hands regularly, cover their coughs and not share cups or utensils.
Some viruses are preventable
While viruses cannot be treated with antibiotics, some can be prevented with vaccines. Many viruses including influenza (flu), chickenpox and rotavirus have vaccines available to prevent them from even happening.
Vaccinations protect you, your family and the community from disease. Before vaccines, thousands of children and adults died each year. Vaccinations are the best protection against common diseases.
For more information about viruses and available vaccines, talk to your child’s pediatrician.