Flu viruses

Be on the lookout for more “flu like” illness now.  Although these viruses present year round we see an increases of these viruses in the winter months.  The flu viruses as we know them are actually comprised of different infections that typically include Influenza A & B, RSV, Parainfluenza, and Adenovirus.  There are effective preventative vaccines ONLY for Influenza A & B that are admininistered usually in September and October prior to the peak flu season. RSV is well known as the virus that causes “bronchiolitis”, a lung condition that can be quite severe, with acute onset of cold symptoms, wheezing, and even respiratory distress that may include hospitalization in some of these infants and younger toddlers.  Parainfluenza virus is the most common virus causing “croup”, characeterized by a barky cough and hoarseness, worse usually during the night.  All of these “flu viruses” are generally known to cause more serious respiratory disease then other viruses found in the warmer months, like rhinovirus, otherwise known as the “common cold”. So when it comes to infection with these winter viruses we are all at risk, but babies, young children, asthmatics, immunodeficient patients, and the elderly are generally the highest risk groups.  The treatments for most are outpatient symptomatic care that includes fever control, saline nasal rinses, oral fluids to prevent dehydration, and rest generally with favorable outcomes after 3-14 days of symptoms.  If you or your infant/child have ongoing respiratory symptoms, worsening of symptoms such as nightime cough, dehydration, or the onset of new symptoms, then you should seek immediate attention from your doctor. Additional therapies may be required for these infections as determined by your doctor after in-office evaluation.

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