Respiratory infection or viral respiratory tract infection is a common disease among children. Children staying in daycare, schools or children playing with other siblings in the house are susceptible to this infection. They usually have a running nose, red eyes, sore throat, couching, fever and so on which normally irritates the child. This infection can occur among children up to six times a year. Yes, it certainly irritates your child but there are also possibilities of curing it soon.
Before going into further details there are some significant differences in the viral respiratory tract infection which one needs to know. Upper respiratory tract infection and lower respiratory tract infection are two types of viral respiratory tract infection. The symptoms of the former usually occur in the throat and nose. A person from any age group can suffer from this infection. Whereas in lower respiratory tract infection occur in the lungs, windpipe, and airways. And it is commonly found among children. However, children sometimes suffer from both. Hence, parents should be aware of its causes, symptoms, treatments.
Causes of Respiratory Infection
- Influenza viruses during winter, rhinoviruses, parainfluenza viruses and certain other viruses are the main cause of this infection among children.
- Children suffer when their hands come in contact with nasal secretion from a person suffering from this infection. These secretions carry the virus. When a child touches his nose or eyes, the viruses get easy access to enter the body and spread new infection.
- It is rare when children breathe the droplets containing viruses of the infected person and they get infected too.
- With increased viruses and lack of proper hygiene taken by their parents, children are more prone to this infection.
Symptoms of Respiratory Infection
- When viruses invaded the respiratory tract cells, mucus is produced. Thus it triggers inflammation leading to running nose, scratchy throat, nasal congestion, and cough.
- There can be a continuation of cough for weeks in children.
- Young children may suffer from high fever as high as 101 or 102 F( about 38.3 to 38.9-degree Celcius) and also up to 104 F(40-degree Celcius).
- Other symptoms in children include headache, developing body aches, particularly with influenza, lethargy and decreased appetite.
- Because of the fact that infants and young children are unable to communicate properly, they usually remain uncomfortable and cranky.
Low Respiratory Infection Complications
- Young infants and newborn babies prefer to breathe through the nose but when they suffer from this respiratory infection they find it very difficult to breathe. Moreover, the mucus comes out with a cough. But when the young infants cannot spit out, they often choke.
- The mucus and inflammation can narrow down the airways of young children which makes it difficult for breathing. A high-pitched noise while breathing out and breathing in can occur in children. When there is a severe narrowing of airways, the child might grasp the breathe and can also turn blue.
- Some infants may also suffer from lung tissue(pneumonia) and infection of the middle air (otitis media). Children having asthma who are suffering from respiratory infection can lead to an asthma attack.
However, these severities can be diagnosed and proper treatments are there to cure these infections.
When a child is suffering from mild upper respiratory tract infection, parents can take care at home. But if there is a high fever for one or two days, or there is a problem in breathing, the parents should take their child to the doctor.
Doctors might do an x-ray of the neck and chest if the child is having a breathing problem or if he finds congestion in the lungs.
Preventions from Respiratory Infection
- Good Hygiene: Maintaining good hygiene is very important. The child with infection and all the members of the family should wash their hands frequently. Physical contact with the ill child increases the chance of spreading infections. So, parents should be careful to balance this risk and also at the same time comforting their child. Children should remain indoors to get well soon. Staying at home until the fever is gone is a better option for a child suffering from it.
- Influenza Vaccination: It only cures viral respiratory tract infection. From a six-month-old baby to adult, this vaccination can be taken yearly. It is also given to adults when there is organ failure.
- Rest and Intake of Fluid: Children suffering from the respiratory infection should have additional rest and drink fluid.
- Medicines for Fever and Pain: Doctors suggest for Acetaminophen or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen for aches and fever. Decongestants are for nasal congestion but are bothersome for kids. Thus, give the cool-mist vaporizer to clear up the congestion in the nose. A rubber suction bulb sucks the mucus from the nose.
Thus, parents should be careful enough to take care of their children as they are more prone to this infection. Instead of watching a child sneezing or having a running nose which irritates them, parents should follow these above steps with a proper recommendation from a doctor to make their childhood better.