Keeping your kiddos healthy is always tricky, especially during winter, when viruses tend to be more prevalent. That's why Dr. Jonathan Lee, a pediatrician at Palouse Pediatrics, has provided some tips to keep your children happy and healthy this winter season!
Did you know it's not the cold weather that triggers the coughs and sniffles? Most of the time, we get sick because we're getting much less fresh air and breathing more circulated air in closed environments. To catch a cold, you need to be exposed to a virus.
"All of us should keep up healthy hygiene practices. Encourage children to wash their hands regularly and often, especially before eating or touching their face. If they are sick, keep them home from school or childcare and have them see a doctor. If they are around people who are sick, it's a good idea for them to wear a mask to help prevent them from getting sick."
Watch for Symptoms!
With so many different illnesses going around, it's always good to watch for symptoms. Learning to recognize common winter illnesses can make it easier to care for your child when they're sick.
"Watch for fevers that last multiple days or any difficulty breathing. That can include prolonged periods of fast breathing when they're calm, needing to use extra muscles in their neck, belly, or rib cage to breathe, or audible sounds like wheezing."
Utilize At-home Remedies
When your kids are sick, the only thing on your mind is to make them comfortable and help them get through it. Sometimes that means getting their doctor involved, and sometimes it can mean doing things at home to reduce their symptoms.
"The remedies for cough in younger children are limited. At home, you can use a humidifier in the room and give honey and warm fluids to children over one year old. If your child has a cough that lasts longer than a week, you should bring them to the doctor."
Continue to Test for COVID-19
While RSV and influenza become much more common during the winter, it's important to remember that COVID-19 is still prevalent.
"We should keep doing what we can to keep our communities healthy by testing for COVID-19. If your child is displaying any symptoms of COVID-19, they should stay home from school. If they have a negative test and their illness symptoms improve, they may return to school. I recommend having them wear a mask to protect their friends as long as they have sick symptoms."
COVID testing is available at Palouse Pediatrics for established patients. Patients (or their parents 😉) should call the office before arriving for a COVID test. If you’re not currently established at Palouse Pediatrics visit the Whitman County Health Department website for a full list of local testing options.
It's easy to get caught up in keeping your child healthy, but it's equally important for parents to remain healthy. It's very easy for mom or dad to pass on a virus or a bug to one of their kiddos.
"Anyone can catch RSV, including older children. Usually, symptoms in school-aged children are milder, and they will not need to be hospitalized. Newborns and infants are the most at risk, and children up to 5 to 6 years old are more likely to have severe symptoms."
Dr. Lee and all of our staff at Palouse Pediatrics are here to help get your kids back on their feet and feeling better when they need it. While our office hours vary during the holiday season, our offices in Pullman and Moscow are open. Our on-call pediatrician is available 24/7 for any after-hour emergencies.
Palouse Pediatrics Pullman Office: 509-332-2605; Palouse Pediatrics Moscow Office: 208-882-2247