Flu season presses on, and with it, a host of infections, bad bugs and persistent fevers. When it comes to our little patients, it can be difficult gauging when a doctor’s visit is necessary and how to prevent the worst the season has to offer. We invited Duane Hougendobler, MD, Parkview Physician’s Group – Pediatrics to share a handful of helpful guidelines for parents and caregivers struggling with questions related to these common symptoms and situations.
When should I take my child in to the doctor?
“I suggest a doctor or ER visit for persistent fever, not when the fever spikes the first time. I worry most about the children that, once the temperature comes down will not eat, drink or play.”
How do I know if my child needs an antibiotic?
“Most febrile illnesses (showing symptoms of a fever) are viral. We try very hard to avoid antibiotics, especially for children over 2 months old with immunizations, and reserve antibiotics for specific reasons. This is one of the reasons to push for immunization, since it requires more workup and treatment if the child is not immunized.”
Are antibiotics dangerous for my child?
“I try to explain to families that antibiotics are not without risks, including GI problems and resistant organisms. I recommend they give their child probiotics if they have to go on antibiotics.”
When should I start getting the flu shot for my child?
“We recommend the flu shot starting at 6 months of age. For the first series, children require 2 injections, 1 month apart, up to age 9. They only need a yearly vaccine after that.”
Can my child have the mist rather than the shot?
“After 2 years of age, the mist or shot are both effective. Asthmatic children can not have the mist.”