What's Going Around?
The doctors at HHP have noted a surge in cases of influenza or influenza-like illness in the community!
How can I prevent my child from getting the flu?
The flu vaccine is the best way to prevent a flu infection. Even in years where the flu vaccine has been a less than-perfect match, it provides a better measure of protection than no vaccine at all. The flu vaccine can be given to almost all patients over 6 months of age. Egg allergy is NOT a contraindication to the flu shot.
Hand washing and keeping surfaces where people have coughed/sneezed clean is also important to flu prevention, especially in the case of a known contact with the flu.
Do I need to schedule a sick visit if I suspect my child has the flu?
Not necessarily. In most healthy children, the flu (like other viruses) is a significant but self-limited illness that resolves in a week or two. Young children under age two or children with certain chronic conditions such as asthma, recurrent virus-induced wheezing, or congenital heart disease are at a higher risk for flu complications. You should seek medical attention if your child is in a high risk group or if you are concerned your child is having shortness of breath or other breathing issues, if they are very dehydrated, if they are difficult to arouse or wake up, or if you are otherwise very concerned. Fever with the flu usually lasts 3-5 days. Cough, congestion, and fatigue may linger for a week or two.
What about Tamiflu?
Tamiflu ® (oseltamivir) is an antiviral drug that, when started within 48 hours of symptom onset, may reduce the number of days of illness by one. It does not eliminate flu symptoms. While anyone can take tamiflu, it is most recommended for people in high risk groups (such as those less than age two years, pregnant, or with chronic medical conditions) who can be started on the medication within 48 hours of symptom onset. Not everyone needs to take antiviral treatment when they have the flu.
Oseltamivir may sometimes be prescribed as prophylaxis for newly exposed people in these same high risk groups who are exposed to the flu but not yet ill themselves.
Side effects of tamiflu may include vomiting, abdominal discomfort, and, while uncommon, agitation and abnormal behavior. In our experience, vomiting and abdominal discomfort is particularly common when using the liquid form of oseltamivir for children.
When can my child return to school?
When your child is feeling better, can participate in school activities, and has not had a fever (or fever-reducing medicine) for 24 hours s/he may return to school.
Where can I reliably read more about influenza?
Here are some links that might be helpful:
High risk groups and influenza:
Frequently asked questions:
The latest influenza ‘map’ of New York State:
Pink Eye/ Conjunctivitis
The doctors at HHP have noticed an increase in patients requesting sick appointments for red eyes, discharging eyes, or pink eyes.
Please keep in mind that "pink eye" will often occur in the setting of colds and DOES NOT necessarily require a doctor's visit or any medication. The pink eye with colds may involve a mild pink color of the whites of the eyes and crusted discharge in the lashes (usually worst first thing in the morning or after sleep). These symptoms can be thought of as a "cold in the eye" and treated the same way you would treat a runny nose. They usually resolve on their own without intervention in 5-6 days.
While the American Academy of Pediatrics states that mild pink eyes should not be a reason for exclusion from school or daycare, the Department of Education may require that your child stay out until their eye symptoms are resolved.
Unfortunately, we cannot speed the process of return to daycare and we cannot write notes saying pink or discharging eyes are not infectious if they occur in the setting of cold symptoms.
Please click HERE for more information about pink eye and conjunctivitis.