Seasonal symptoms bring kids to local emergency rooms

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WYTV) – Akron Children’s Hospital in Boardman saw 140 children in its emergency room Tuesday. There isn’t a sudden outbreak or illness going around, in fact, medical experts say there really isn’t anything unusual going on – just common viruses this time of year.

Nurse Practitioner Linda Beilstein said mostly parents are worried and want to make sure they aren’t dealing with something more than just cold symptoms.

“Is it something we need an antibiotic for? I just want them checked to be sure and most of the kids that we are seeing it is viral,” Beilstein said.

Doctors say while our warmer than usual weather is allowing pollens to continue, it is also the start of the normal cold and sniffles season – and there’s plenty to go around. Dr. John Cox said at any given time there are about 10 to 15 different respiratory viruses that all cause similar symptoms.

While antibiotics don’t treat viral issues, turning to cough suppressants may not help that much either. Dr. Cox says cough medicines usually don’t work well with kids and there are other, better choices.

“Something like a decongestant or an antihistamine, which helps turn that faucet off, because most of the time kids are coughing because of drainage going down their throat,” Dr. Cox said.

The one point experts all seem to agree on is that practicing good hygiene can help keep kids and their parents healthy.

“It is good to instruct their kids to cough or sneeze away from other children, to use their hand or their elbow to cough into or a tissue,” Beilstein said.

Dr. Cox says parents should be concerned if their child’s illness lasts more than three weeks or if their fluid intake decreases. Otherwise, just treat the symptoms as they arise and wait it out.

“If you get a kid the perks up and then poops out, perks up and poops out, that is reassuring. Sick kids don’t perk up. Sick kids stay sick and become sicker, and that usually is more of a bacterial infection,” Dr. Cox said.

At that point, a trip to the doctor is needed.