Hearing that your child is suffering from an acute upper respiratory infection sounds scary. But what does this mean in layman’s terms? Essentially, your child has a cold.
It is not as frightening as you may think, but it is still never a cause for celebration. Especially if you have to pick them up from school during a busy work week.
Upper respiratory infections in kids are prevalent. In fact, most children will experience some form of mild to severe cold symptoms between 6 to 10 times in a year. That number is even higher for children that attend childcare or school.
Though most children recover from colds by themselves, sometimes these infections can cause dangerous complications. Kids under 2 or those who compromised immune systems are at risk the most for a cold to develop into a serious condition.
You need to know as a parent the signs, symptoms, and treatments of acute respiratory infections in your children. That way, you can spot if something is getting worse and get them the treatment they need.
What is acute respiratory infection?
An acute respiratory infection is an infection that occurs in the upper or lower respiratory tract. In children, upper respiratory infections are the most common. These respiratory tract infections include pharyngitis, sinusitis, ear infections, influenza, and the common cold.
All acute respiratory infections can affect normal breathing by causing congestion and potential swelling, and fluid build-up in the lungs. You must keep an eye on severe symptoms because a common infection can develop into a more serious condition if left unchecked.
Symptoms of acute respiratory infection:
How to treat acute respiratory infections:
Treating acute respiratory infection in your child depends on the severity of their symptoms. Like any viral infection, there isn’t a medical treatment to cure the condition. It just needs to run its course. You can help your child by managing and treating their symptoms until the infection is gone.
Treating the symptoms of acute respiratory infections may include saline or nasal rinses and using cool mist humidifiers to aid in breathing. We recommend purchasing cough and cold medicines and over-the-counter medications for symptom control.
If your child’s healthcare pediatrician suspects a bacterial infection may be present, they may prescribe a specific health care treatment.
Are respiratory infections contagious?
Yes, acute respiratory infections are highly contagious. They spread through contact with droplets from an infected person, such as coughing, sneezing, talking, singing, and spitting. To catch the infection, you must come in close contact with an infected person or object they have touched.
Respiratory infections affect both children and adults, but kids suffer more often. They are common in children because children do not typically have the best hygiene practices.
For instance, if your child gets into the personal space of an infected person, eats after them, or touches an infected object and then puts their hands into their mouth or rubs their eyes, they may become infected.
How to prevent your child from getting an acute respiratory infection
To help your child avoid becoming ill with an upper respiratory infection, it is essential to teach them good hygiene practices.
Teaching your child to wash their hands frequently with soap and water properly will keep them from touching objects and transmitting infection. You should also instruct your children to keep their hands out of their mouth, nose, and eyes from an early age.
Kids can sneeze or cough into a tissue or the crook of their elbows, which will reduce the spread of respiratory illnesses.
Seeing a Doctor for Acute Respiratory Infection
You can manage and treat most acute upper respiratory infection symptoms at home without medical intervention. Still, you should look into scheduling with an online pediatrician for a second opinion. They can answer your questions if your child’s symptoms worsen or if you need treatment advice.
Our virtual kid doctors can help if your kid is not feeling well and you live far away from urgent care or an in-person pediatrician. You can always speak with our board-certified pediatricians and even conduct visits from home.
We care about your kids and would love to help ease your busy schedule. Give us a call at (888).961.8885, and we would be happy to chat!