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Top 4 illnesses plaguing day cares

Myth: You only need a flu shot if you're in a high-risk category.
Myth: You only need a flu shot if you're in a high-risk category. (iStock/ia_64)

As kids get out of school and head to camp and day cares, you know there will be illnesses coming in hot to your household.

The flu finally subsided, and now there's other seasonal illnesses that show up during warmer months. The chief medical officer of Texas Children's Pediatrics, Dr. Stan Spinner, said this time of year viral infections commonly cause upper respiratory infections, runny nose, cough, congestion and sore throats.

You'll have to wait for viruses to clear on their own, but Spinner said bacterial infections like some forms of pink eye or strep throat can be treated with prescriptions and are showing up in doctors’ offices a lot right now.

“Now that's more of a school-age type of illness, we don't see strep throat in very young children as often as we do like, a sore throat, but certainly you can see it in preschoolers. That is contagious, obviously,” he said.

Even after the sore throat improves, it's important to be on the lookout for a secondary infection.

“It's going to go away in 7 to 10 days. It can cause complications, it can lead into a secondary ear infection, which again is usually caused by bacteria. We would treat that. It can lead to pneumonia and if it's a virus we can we can only treat the symptoms. If it's a bacterial pneumonia, usually children will get sicker with that,” Spinner said.

Look for fever, diarrhea, lethargy to signify a second infection.

“A warning sign is if your child seems to be getting better, after three or four days suddenly takes a turn for the worse,” Spinner said, “Or if they're having vomiting or diarrhea and they become more listless, they're not acting like they were before, they're not looking as good, may be an indication that they're getting dehydrated.”

Hydration and over-the-counter fever reducers are necessary to treat these illnesses.

Hydration is also critical for the painful, common illness hand, foot and mouth disease.

“It's caused by a virus, typically you'll get sore throat, you can get blisters inside the mouth, you can also see blisters classically on the hands and feet but you can get a rash kind of throughout the body,” Spinner said.

The rule to returning to day care after an illness usually falls on the day care's rules. Spinner said kids should not be around others until a fever is gone for 24 hours, without Tylenol. Even for days after that, the child may still be contagious.