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Childhood Illnesses

The Most Common Spring Illnesses

Ah, spring! How we’ve missed you. Finally a break from the kids’ cabin fever, 2-hour snow delays, and worst of all, sick days. Or is it? While warmer weather generally brings about the end of flu season, there ARE several common spring illnesses that linger or peak in the mid-year months.

(I know, moms just can’t catch a break).

Here’s what you need to know about the most common spring illness, how to spot them, and tricks to preventing them if you’re lucky.  

The Common Cold

When it Peaks: If the phrase “spring cold” sounds familiar, it’s because rhinovirus – responsible for about 50% of colds – is the most prevalent in both fall and spring.

Signs and Symptoms: Symptoms of a common cold usually appear one to three days after exposure to a cold-causing virus.

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Congestion
  • Mild body aches and/or headache
  • Sneezing
  • Low-grade fever

Prevention: Wash your hands often and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

Spring Allergies

When it Peaks: When pollen is in full swing, cue the sniffles and sneezes. Spring allergies can also be exacerbated by rainy weather, which breeds mold. While things can take a turn as early as February, mid-March is when most of us start feeling the effects.

Signs and Symptoms: Symptoms of a common cold usually appear one to three days after exposure to a cold-causing virus.

  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Itchy eyes and/or nose
  • Dark circles under the eyes

Prevention and Treatment: After talking to your doctor about whether allergy medicine is right for your family, and if so, begin taking it as soon as the weather starts to thaw; getting ahead of histamine buildup is key. Additionally, proper house-cleaning can help make your home a safe zone. Using air purifiers, cleaning your filters frequently, and vacuuming twice a week all help keep the allergens at bay.

 

Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

When it Peaks: While pink eye can happen at any time of year, conjunctivitis doesn’t REALLY start ramping up until springtime. That’s partly because of irritants and allergens that start popping up at this time.  

Signs and Symptoms: Frequently mistaken for allergies, conjunctivitis can be recognized by:

  • Red, itchy, and/or burning eyes
  • More tears than usual
  • Yellow, green, or white discharge that forms a crust over eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light

Prevention and Treatment: As always, frequent hand-washing is the best form or prevention, as is keeping kids’ hands away from their eyes.

 

Norovirus

When it Peaks: The leading cause of stomach bugs, norovirus is a nasty and highly contagious illness that is common well through April.

Signs and Symptoms: If you or your kids are suffering from norovirus, you’ll likely know it. The unpleasant symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain

Prevention and Treatment: Norovirus is highly contagious, and hard to develop immunity to hanks to the variety of strains. Your best defenses include proper hand-washing, food safety, and thorough house cleaning.  

Spring allergies or not, we’re ready for warm weather, longer days, and more trips to the park. Just remember to bring the Children’s Claritin! 😉

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