It appears the wintertime cold and flu season is here already! The CDC is reporting higher than usual levels of influenza (flu), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and rhinovirus. We have noticed that children are especially hard hit. This has resulted in long waits in pediatric emergency rooms and urgent care, fewer available appointments at the doctor’s office, and many children missing days of school.
At Kaiser Permanente, we are seeing many children with significant fever, body aches, cough, runny nose, and decreased appetite and activity due to influenza. We’re also seeing children with RSV bronchiolitis that have similar symptoms including cough, profuse runny nose, wheeze, fever, and decreased appetite and activity.
While Tamiflu may decrease the duration of illness in children with influenza, there is no medication to treat RSV bronchiolitis or other wintertime viral infections. Our primary recommendation for all these illnesses is to give supportive treatment for a child’s symptoms. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are helpful for fever and painful symptoms like body aches, headache, and sore throat. Honey and honey-based cough and cold medications can provide some relief for cold symptoms in children older than a year of age.
Our pediatric team is here to support your children if they become ill.
You have many ways to get care and advice quickly and conveniently, 24 hours a day.
Getting care virtually can save time and help avoid a trip to a medical office and exposure to others who are sick. Visit kp.org/getcare to learn more and access care online.
These tend to be the best ways to get treatment advice if you think your child is sick with flu or RSV:
- E-visits for treatment recommendations based on your response to questions.
- Calling for nurse advice at 404-365-0966.
- Emailing your child’s doctor with questions.
- On demand phone or video visits with a physician.
- Scheduling an in-person visit online.
The clinicians can help you treat symptoms at home and let you know if the child should be seen in person. We can also provide work and school notes.
Please let us know immediately if your child has any signs of serious respiratory illness. These include difficulty or rapid breathing, poor feeding, recurrent vomiting, signs of dehydration or persistent high fever lasting more than 3 days for older children and the presence of any fever in a child less than 2 months of age.
If coming into a medical office, remember that masks are still required for all members older than age two. Please be patient with us as wait times are currently increased due to the prevalence of these illnesses in metro Atlanta.
We encourage you to take the following steps to stay well:
- Follow local COVID guidelines for masking
- Wash your hands and surfaces frequently
- Stay home from school or work if you are sick
- Avoid crowds