Hand, foot, and mouth disease
The viral infection causes mouth ulcers and tiny blisters on the hands and feet. “There’s been an increase lately,” Martinez says. Although it’s moderately contagious, it’s usually not serious. There’s no specific treatment, but practicing good hygiene — such as frequent and thorough hand washing — can keep your little one safe.
There’s no such thing as “cold season.” Colds can strike at any time of the year, and are caused by more than 20 different viruses. Symptoms include congestion, a runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, and tiredness. Typically, a cold-ridden kid is contagious for two to three days. The best medicine? Lots of fluids and plenty of rest.
These are “very contagious,” Martinez says. Particularly worrisome: Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, which sends at least 2 million kids under age 5 to the doctor or hospital each year. Symptoms include shortness of breath, a “seal bark” cough, fever, stuffy nose, and wheezing. It’s most common from late fall through early spring.
Ouch. Strep brings fever, stomach pain, and red, swollen tonsils. Since strep-causing bacteria migrate to the nose and throat, sneezing, coughing, and shaking hands can spread it from person to person. Strep requires antibiotic treatment, but kids typically recover within a few days. If it’s not treated, it can trigger scarlet fever — all the symptoms associated with strep, along with a scarlet-colored rash that commonly appears on the neck, chest, armpits, elbows, groin, and inner thighs.
You know the symptoms: Fever. Coughing and a sore throat. Headache and runny nose. Chills, fatigue, and maybe some nausea and vomiting. Flu season typically starts in October, peaks in January, February, and March, and winds down in May. The federal government recommends everyone 6 months and older get the flu shot, which arrives in most towns this month. The sooner you and your kids get the shot, the sooner you’re all protected. It doesn’t wear off: If you get vaccinated now, you’ll still be protected when flu season wraps up next year. Although it doesn’t completely rule out the chance of getting sick, the vaccine reduces the likelihood by 70 to 90 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
These tiny, parasitic insects live among human hairs, feeding on blood drawn from the scalp. Three- to 12-year-old girls are particularly at risk, although boys in that age range are not immune. Contrary to popular perception, personal hygiene has nothing to do with getting head lice. Adult lice are about the size of a sesame seed; eggs are similar to dandruff flakes. Lice are very contagious — close contact and sharing hats or hairbrushes hike the risk. Both over-the-counter and prescription medications can treat the problem