We check with Dr Christelle Tan, specialist in Paediatric Medicine, Raffles Specialist @ RafflesHolland Villageon upper respiratory tract infection.
WORDS JOANNA ONG
What it is
An acute viral infection causing inflammation of the upper respiratory tract. More commonly known as the flu.
Fever, runny or stuffy nose and cough.
Treatment (and ways to help them recover faster)
Children will recover on their own. The fever in most infections last about four to five days but the symptoms can last up to a week or longer. Ensuring that your child drinks well and keeps well hydrated is important. There are medications to help with the symptoms of fever/cough/phlegm/runny nose etc. but these are to help your child feel more comfortable and do not cure the underlying problem.
When to see the doctor/bring to A&E
URTIs are generally benign and get better with time even without treatment. However, it is important to ensure that the fever is not due to any other serious infection.
Hence, if your child is between 0-3 months of age and has a fever, it is important to
bring him to see a doctor for further investigations and a thorough check to ensure
that this is not due to any other serious underlying bacterial infection as
children in this age group are particularly vulnerable.
It is also important to ensure your child is feeding well and not having signs of dehydration (refer to GE). For babies more than three months, Dr Low advises parents to monitor your child’s temperature constantly. If the child has a fever higher than 39°C, fever lasting longer than three days or other symptoms such as lethargy or poor feeding, visit the doctor immediately.
Family members should get their annual flu jab to avoid passing the flu bug to the child at home. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends flu jabs to begin for children of six months of age and beyond. This will not prevent all URTIs but can prevent those caused by the influenza virus which can be severe in the young. Household members who are ill with the flu should wear a mask at home and observe coughing etiquette to prevent the spread to young children at home. Meticulous handwashing should also be practised at home to avoid the spread of infected secretions.