If your kids are complaining about a sore throat this week, they are not alone. Dr. Carey Ertz says strep throat is going around. Dr. Steve Sindelar in Bellevue is seeing a virus that causes sore throat and fever. In west Omaha, Dr. Robert Beer is seeing cases of hand, foot and mouth disease. Back to school supplies and clothes are top of mind, but Dr. Mel Roca says don't forget those back to school physicals.
A fever, headache, nausea and/or vomiting could also go along with the sore throat and many kids won't want to eat. Dr. Ertz suggests Tylenol or Ibuprofen for the fever and pain relief, increased liquids and soft foods, salt water gargles and lozenges for older children. Strep is diagnosed by a throat swab and treated by antibiotics. It is contagious so hand washing is key. It's also important to not share cups or utensils.
Hand, foot and mouth disease usually begins with fatigue and is followed by fever and sore throat. Children then develop small, red blisters on their hands and feet and painful sores in their mouth. This is also contagious and lasts seven to 10 days. Unfortunately, there is no antibiotic, but rest, extra fluids and over-the-counter pain medication like Tylenol or Ibuprofen can help. The mouth sores can be eased with cool liquids or popsicles, the rash on hands and feet is best treated with topical cortisone or aloe and Benadryl may be needed for the itching.
Dr. Steve Sindelar in Bellevue is seeing a virus that causes sore throat and fever. Some children also experience diarrhea and vomiting. It lasts up to five days and seems to be affecting school age children the most. Dr. Sindelar says you should watch for signs of dehydration. The sore throat makes it difficult to swallow, but try pushing a lot of fluids anyway. Children's Ibuprofen can help relieve the pain and keep the fever in check. If the fever hangs on for more than three days you should see the doctor. It's also good to check in if that fever hits 103 degrees or higher. This is contagious so don't share drinks or utensils and remember to wash your hands often.
Back to school supplies and clothes are top of mind, but don't forget those back to school physicals. Dr. Mel Roca in Council Bluffs says when it comes to updating immunization shots, tweens ages 11 and 12 tend to miss the most. This age group needs a Tetanus shot, which also contains a whooping cough immunization. They also get the meningitis and HPV vaccine.
Dr. Roca says back to school physicals are also an opportunity for parents to re-enforce the concept of keeping a healthy weight by staying active two hours a day, limiting screen time, avoiding fast food and sugary drinks while choosing more fruits and veggies. It's also a time to talk about the dangers of smoking and alcohol, strangers, texting while driving and gun safety.