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New Year, Same Illnesses!

January 12, 2024

Hello NAP Families,

Happy new year to you all! We hope you had a wonderful holiday break and are getting back into the routine of work, school, and, of course, the never-ending stream of illnesses. We continue to see a high rate of Covid, flu, gastroenteritis (stomach bug), and other viral infections in the office. Many of the typical “colds” are coming with a prolonged period of cough and congestion – up to six weeks in some cases! We are happy to see any patient who feels they are not improving as expected from an illness, but as a reminder the “red flag” symptoms of colds turning into more serious infections are a new fever after a period of improvement, worsening cough/difficulty breathing/chest pain, new persistent ear pain, and new or worsening sinus pressure/headaches after 3+ weeks of congestion.

Most typical colds start with up to 5 days of fever, significant cough, nasal congestion, ear fullness, sinus pressure, and headaches, but then should start to slowly improve over the next 2-3 weeks. The best initial care is making sure your child stays hydrated, encouraging them to blow their nose or use a nasal suctioning device, using steam to open and drain the nasal passageways and sinuses, and having them sleep with their head elevated. The best cough medicine for children over 1 year of age is honey (NOT honey-flavored cough syrup) – either given straight on a spoon or mixed into some warm water with lemon juice. If your child has difficulty breathing in their chest, is not able to stay hydrated, has fevers that don’t improve with Tylenol or Motrin, or has significant pain, they should be seen right away.

The best way to prevent getting or spreading these illnesses is with frequent hand washing, coughing/sneezing into your arm, wearing a mask when around others if you are feeling ill, and staying up to date with Covid and flu boosters. We continue to offer Covid and flu vaccine clinics most weekends, please use the portal or call our office to schedule an appointment if you have not yet received your booster this season.

As a reminder, if your child is sick enough to stay home from school and needs an excuse note, but not sick enough to warrant a trip into the office, you may be able to schedule a virtual visit with one of our providers. We are not able to write excuse notes for children not evaluated by a NAP provider.

Take care, stay well, and have a happy and healthy start to 2024!

Northampton Area Pediatrics