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Health Team

Wait-and-see approach is best for children's summer bug

Posted June 29, 2011

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— A viral infection common in children, especially in summertime months, was a popular topic for the "Doctors on Call" event Tuesday, when a panel of local pediatricians took calls from about 400 WRAL-TV viewers in two hours.

Many callers were inquiring about the enterovirus because their children are currently sick and need relief.

"The kids are all swimming and sharing these germs," said Dr. Jerry Bernstein, of Raleigh Pediatric Associates, on why the infection is so common in summer.

The virus affects different children in different ways, said Dr. David Ingram, of WakeMed Faculty Physicians. 

"One kid can have a fever and the next kid can have an ear infection and the next kid can have pneumonia and the next one has meningitis, the next one diarrhea," Ingram said. 

Docs on Call address common summer bug Docs on Call address common summer bug

Pediatricians told concerned parents that the best thing to do is treat the symptoms, rather than insist on an antibiotics prescription. Treating the fever with acetaminophen and keeping children hydrated with water, Pedialyte or juice is the best way to deal with infections.

"As long as (we) have a normal immune system, we're equipped to be able to fight fevers on our own," said Dr. Loren Robinson, of North Carolina Children's Hospital. "I usually recommend that parents take at least 48 hours to see how their children are doing with Tylenol and see if they start to turn the corner."

Overusing antibiotics can create "super bugs," or resistant bacteria strains that are difficult to treat, pediatricians said. Some children can experience dangerous allergic reactions to antibiotics as well.

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  • baracus Jun 30, 2011

    Jeezalou - there is no little Timmy people. I was merely illustrating the mindset of people who expect to be prescribed SOMETHING when they go to the doctor.

  • 4Cats Jun 30, 2011

    Baracus - then maybe your doc should start prescribing sugar pills to little Timmy...he'll still feel better in a couple of days if it is just a virus anyway.

  • carrboroyouth Jun 30, 2011

    Enterscreenname: the parents ask for them. I kid you not. Some don't think a doctor's visit is successful without drugs prescribed.

  • justjean Jun 30, 2011

    Little Timmy should fight the virus like the rest of the world instead of helping to build resistance to bacteria. Parents who insist a doctor give their child an antibiotic for a virus are only asking for long term problems. Wait until your child breaks out in MRSA infection and then you find out none of the available anitbiotics will help little Timmy, because he's built up a resistance to them. Once the MRSA infection gets into little Timmy's blood stream then you can start planning his funeral. Sheesh!!! Doctor's should REFUSE to give anyone an antibiotic for a virus.

  • baracus Jun 30, 2011

    "My question - who would even ask for an ANTIBIOTIC for a VIRUS? Antibiotics treat bacterial infections. To treat a virus, you would need an antiviral medication - if one exists for that particular virus."

    Hey Mr Science last time little Timmy got sick the doctor gave him an antibiotic and he felt better. If I have to spend half an hour waiting and a $20 co-pay to see the doctor about little Timmy's tummy-ache, he better prescribe something more than "wait and see".

  • -Enter Screen Name- Jun 30, 2011

    FTA- "Pediatricians told concerned parents that the best thing to do is treat the symptoms, rather than insist on an antibiotics prescription" (for the enterovirus).

    My question - who would even ask for an ANTIBIOTIC for a VIRUS? Antibiotics treat bacterial infections. To treat a virus, you would need an antiviral medication - if one exists for that particular virus.