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Summer bug w/ cold symptoms attacks infants

June 25, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
It may seem like a summer cold at first, but for infants this can be a severe summer bug. Enteroviruses tend to show up during the hotter months, and while in most cases it's not a lot to worry about parents should know the symptoms and know when to see the doctor.Seven-month-old Alan Navarro is good now, but a week ago his mother Virginia didn't know what to make of a high fever that persisted for a few days. He started to get better, but then she saw a prickly, red rash appear all over her body.

"The next day it looked even worse. It was all over his face and it was redder than before," said Eva Navarro, Alan's sister.

Pediatrician Dr. Janesri De Silva diagnosed Alan's illness as a form of enterovirus. She tends to see it every summer.

"This virus seems to like the summer months. It can cause a range of symptoms from cold symptoms, to vomiting, diarrhea, rashes and fevers," said Dr. De Silva.

It's passed just like any other virus through respiratory secretions and contaminated surfaces.

Young children and teens are susceptible to the virus because they're less likely to have built immunity to it.

While enterovirus is usually mild it can lead to blood infections, viral meningitis or brain swelling in infants.

"In babies it can be severe. It can lead to severe dehydration," said Dr. De Silva.

The treatment involves providing supportive care and plenty of fluids. In babies, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends infants simply continue on formula or breast milk.

Alan's mom thought she thought she should clean Alan's rash with alcohol, but Dr. De Silva says that's the wrong thing to do.

"There are a lot of things that parents try, but stick with the simple things," said Dr. De Silva. "Keep the skin cool and dry. That's what's important."

Again symptoms include fever, runny nose, vomiting and diarrhea. Not every child gets every symptom. Dr. De Silva says parents should see a doctor if the fever persists and always call if you have any questions about how to administer care.


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