Apr 16, 2018

Dr. Gellner: Parents often want more answers when they are told that their child has "just a virus." Are viruses really something they should worry about? I'm Dr. Cindy Gellner, and I'll tell you on The Scope.

Announcer: Keep your kids healthy and happy, you are now entering "The Healthy Kids Zone" with Dr. Cindy Gellner on The Scope.

Dr. Gellner: Parents bring their kids in a lot for colds. And often, the viruses are pretty mild, but that does not mean they should be taken lightly. Everyone knows about the influenza virus and how deadly that can be. Depending on the age of the child, other viruses can be just as bad. Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, which peaks in winter, affects the lungs of children under the age of 2 so badly that little ones can be hospitalized and be put on oxygen. Preemies are especially vulnerable to that virus.

Rhinovirus, which causes annoying cold symptoms in teens and adults, can cause congestion so bad little ones have to choose between drinking or breathing. Coronavirus can cause newborn babies to stop breathing. Rotavirus causes so much vomiting and diarrhea that kids get admitted for IV fluids for dehydration. Luckily, that is a virus that we have a vaccine for.

The bottom line is that when we tell parents their child has a virus, we feel just as bad that there is no magic pill to make their child feel better faster. Fluids, pain and fever reducers, and a lot of TLC is what we prescribe. But if your child gets worse while fighting off a virus, we definitely want to see them again as soon as possible.

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