Crestwood  Pediatric  Associates

703-361-7131   Manassas

703-753-6184   Haymarket

This is the time of year when we expect to see an increase in the number of respiratory infections in our community, including influenza, throat infections (pharyngitis), and other common illnesses.  While these respiratory infections are not unusual for this time of year, there are a number of things that you can do to protect your child and others. 

To help control the spread of respiratory illnesses:

Talk to your medical provider about flu vaccination for your child:  Vaccination is the single best way to protect against the flu.  It is recommended that all children aged 6 months through 18 years of age receive the flu vaccine each year.  Flu vaccine is readily available in the community and we encourage you to get it as soon as it is available in the fall and early winter.  However, as long as flu viruses are circulating, there is still benefit from getting the vaccine even into early spring or later.
Encourage your child to adhere to standard disease prevention recommendations: 

Use tissues and dispose of them properly.
Cover your mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, or cough into the upper sleeve.
Do not cough or sneeze into the hands.
Avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth to prevent the spread of germs.
Wash hands regularly with soap and water for 15-20 seconds.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers may be used with supervision, when soap and water are not available.
Do not share drinking glasses or eating utensils.

At home, routinely clean and disinfect surfaces that are high contact areas:  Use regular household cleaning products or mix ¼ cup chlorine bleach with 1 gallon of cool water to wipe down high contact areas. Always follow label instructions for any disinfectant.
Monitor your child for signs of illness:  Symptoms of flu include fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, and muscle aches.  Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may also occur, and are much more common among children than adults.

Symptoms of throat infections commonly include fever and sore throat without the stuffy nose and cough.  The common cold usually does not present with fever.

Contact a doctor if your child shows symptoms of a respiratory illness: 

Fever (100°F. orally, or 102°F. rectally) AND chills, cough, sore throat, headache, or muscle aches.

To prevent spreading illness to others keep children home when ill. If your child has influenza they should remain home and away from others until symptom-free and without a fever for at least 24 hours. Treatment may be available and if given, you should follow the doctor’s directions for taking the prescribed medicine.  If your child has been diagnosed with bacterial pharyngitis (i.e. strep throat) they should remain home for at least 24 hours after starting antibiotics. This will ensure that the spread of disease is limited as much as possible. 

A fact sheet on influenza with information about the flu vaccine is attached for your information.  Influenza Fact Sheet