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School Germs and Your Child’s Health

Children and Viruses: When to Get Help

In the majority of cases, colds, flu, and stomach bugs will pass on their own. However, some symptoms definitely do need to be checked out by a pediatrician. They include:

  • Fever of 100.4 degrees or higher for a child 2 months old or younger, 101 degrees or higher for a child 3 to 6 months old, and 103 degrees or higher in a child older than 6 months
  • Fever that lasts more than 24 hours
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Behavior changes or lethargy
  • Not urinating for eight hours or more
  • No tears when crying
  • Vomiting that goes on for more than eight hours
  • Blood in vomit or stool
  • Green vomit

"I believe strongly in parental radar," says Rosh. "If your children just don't seem right to you, bring them to the pediatrician."

Children and Viruses: What Else Can You Do?

At this point, you might be thinking: There must be something else I can do for my poor kid.

"Nothing tugs on a parent's heartstrings more than a sick child," says Rosh. "Parents become desperate to do something to make them better." Unfortunately, there probably isn't anything. You just have to wait for their body to fight off the virus.

While you might not be able to make the illness go away faster, you can take this time to be close with your children, Rosh says. Read a book or watch a movie together. Be with them. They're going to have a lot of viruses in their lives. You're helping them learn how to cope with them.

Beyond that, be patient. "Comfort your child," says Rosh, "and wait for the human body to do its thing."

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Reviewed on September 10, 2011
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