Attention to Respiratory Tract Infections with Similar Symptoms in Children!

Attention to Respiratory Tract Infections with Similar Symptoms in Children!
Attention to Respiratory Tract Infections with Similar Symptoms in Children!

Respiratory tract infections in children increase with the winter months and the cold weather. However, the similarity of symptoms of respiratory tract infections makes it difficult to diagnose the disease correctly. However, correct diagnosis and correct treatment prevent both the prolongation of the recovery period and the increase in treatment costs. Assoc. Dr. Nisa Eda Çullas İlarslan gave information about the symptoms and treatment practices of respiratory tract diseases in children.

The most important reason is to spend more time indoors.

Upper respiratory tract infections seen in children are rhinitis (cold), flu, pharyngitis, tonsillitis (tonsillitis), otitis media (acute otitis media), fluid accumulation in the middle ear (otitis media with effusion), sinusitis and laryngitis (croup). Lower respiratory tract infections are seen as bronchiolitis, bronchitis and pneumonia. Respiratory tract infections are most common in late autumn, winter and spring. The most important reason for this is to be in closed environments more due to cold weather and increase in contact.

Transmission increases with direct contact.

The main mode of transmission of respiratory tract infections is droplet route. Virus particles released into the environment by coughing are taken into the body by respiration and cause disease. Another mode of transmission is direct contact. Especially in the pre-school period, children in the nursery environment frequently bring their hands to their mouth, nose and eyes, which increases contact and contamination in this way.

Attention should be paid to the signs that distinguish infections from each other.

The signs and symptoms of respiratory tract infections in children are similar to each other. The following symptoms of infections should be paid attention to and these symptoms should be taken into account when making a diagnosis.

Rhinitis: Symptoms of the common cold caused by viruses are runny nose, nasal congestion, mild fever, cough and itching in the throat. There may also be redness and discharge from the eyes. In infants, these symptoms may be accompanied by restlessness and sleep disturbance.

Grip: The causative agent of seasonal flu is the influenza virus. The fever is usually high. Weakness, headache, muscle pain, sore throat are typical. In addition, cough, runny nose, shortness of breath can be seen. Sometimes, digestive system complaints such as abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea are also present.

Pharyngitis: Often, sore throat, burning in the throat, difficulty in swallowing and cough are seen. This condition may be accompanied by fever.

Tonsillitis: Symptoms of tonsillitis are also often seen in pharyngitis. The clinical picture is seen as tonsillopharyngitis in many cases. Sore throat, fever, fatigue, headache, myalgia and painful lymph nodes in the neck are typical in tonsillitis due to beta microbe (group A beta hemolytic streptococcus). In some cases, a scarlet rash is seen. On the contrary, signs of viral infection (such as cough, low-grade fever, runny nose, hoarseness, cough, discharge from the eyes) are not expected.

otitis media: In otitis media, which is a complication that occurs during the course of an upper respiratory tract infection with complaints such as cough, runny nose and nasal congestion, complaints are seen in the form of ear pain and fever. There may be discharge in the ear. Restlessness, crying and sleep problems are common in babies.

Fluid accumulation in the middle ear (otitis media with effusion): In this case, there is often no finding other than a mild hearing loss. Since the hearing loss is mild, it may not be noticed by the parents, or there may be a decrease in the success of watching television or school.

Acute bacterial sinusitis: Symptoms are usually prolonged cough, runny nose, stuffy nose, fever, and headache, often around the eyes.

Croup: Sudden onset of hoarseness and barking coarse cough are typical during the course of upper respiratory tract infection. This cough is often seen late at night.

Pneumonia: Fever, cough, weakness and loss of appetite are typical symptoms. Signs of respiratory distress (frequent breathing, chest pulling, shortness of breath, groaning, bruising) may be seen. In addition, abdominal pain, headache and chest pain are among the symptoms.

Bronchiolitis: In bronchiolitis, which is mainly seen in children under the age of two, the symptoms are cough, runny nose, fever, feeding difficulties and wheezing. In advanced cases, signs of respiratory distress can be seen.

Diagnosis is made by examination and tests.

In upper respiratory tract infections, the diagnosis is often made clinically. The diagnosis of beta microbe in tonsillitis is confirmed by throat culture or rapid antigen test. During the epidemic period, your doctor may request rapid antigen testing for the diagnosis of influenza when clinically suspected. In addition, PCR testing may be required under necessary conditions for Covid-19, which is one of the most important factors of respiratory tract infections during the pandemic period. In lower respiratory tract infections, the diagnosis is made clinically, but in cases where hospitalization is required, the diagnosis cannot be made definitively or the response to treatment is not sufficient, lung x-ray and blood tests may be requested.

Medication should not be used without a doctor's prescription

Treatment of viral upper respiratory tract infections is supportive. It is recommended to rest and drink plenty of fluids. If there is nasal congestion, drops containing saline provide relief. It is not recommended to use cold medicines, especially under the age of 6, unless prescribed by a doctor. This is because their effectiveness is limited and they have various side effects. In seasonal flu, the physician may also consider it appropriate to start antiviral treatment in the first two days of the complaints. In some special cases, antibiotic treatment will be prescribed by the physician. These conditions are tonsillitis due to beta microbe, otitis media, acute bacterial sinusitis and pneumonia that the physician thinks to develop due to bacterial factors. Antibiotics should not be used in respiratory tract infections unless prescribed by a physician.

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