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Centra Care: Back to School Illnesses | Central Florida Council | Boy Scouts of America
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Centra Care: Back to School Illnesses


Back to School Illnesses

August 7, 2015
When kids go back to school, parents quickly realize their little ones are stepping off the bus with more than just homework. School is the perfect environment for spreading germs. Every year around this time Centra Care physicians write lots of doctor’s notes for an array of illnesses, but a few top the lists of reasons for missing school: Upper Respiratory Infection (URI), followed by Pharyngitis, Otitis Media and Bronchitis. Click to play this video.

Upper Respiratory Infection (URI):
URI is any type of infection of the head and chest that is caused by a virus. The infection is spread when viruses are passed to others by sneezing, coughing, or by touching something that has been infected by another person. Symptoms of Upper Respiratory Infection include: scratchy or sore throat; sneezing, runny nose, and nasal congestion; cough; watery eyes; ear congestion; slight fever (99º to 100ºF); fatigue; headache and loss of appetite.
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Pharyngitis (sore throat): The inflammation of the pharynx is a very common medical condition, and often a symptom of URI. Sore throats can be caused by both viruses and the streptococcus bacteria (also known as strep throat). Since the symptoms of strep throat and viral sore throats are the same, a doctor will often swab your throat to determine if you will need an antibiotic. If it’s not strep throat, you won’t need an antibiotic, since antibiotics do not kill viruses.
Otitis Media: occurs when the ear lining becomes swollen, and fluid builds up, causing ear pain and infection. Symptoms include: earache (either a sharp, sudden pain or a dull, continuous pain), fever and chills, nasal congestion may accompany or precede an ear infection, a feeling of fullness in the ear, nausea, muffled hearing and ear drainage. Because of complications associated with ear infections, it’s important to see a physician to determine the cause your earache. If it’s bacterial in nature, antibiotics may be needed to clear it up.
Typically acute bronchitis develops from colds and other URI’s. Symptoms of bronchitis include a dry cough that develops into a cough with mucus, wheezing, fatigue, chest tightness and a mild fever; sometimes with chills. Because acute bronchitis is caused by bacteria, antibiotics are often prescribed to clear up the symptoms.
When to See a Doctor:
With most of these illnesses, some of the symptoms can be treated with over the counter medications, but there’s also a time when you need to take your child to a doctor:
  • Temperature reaches 102ºF or higher
  • Shaking chills
  • Difficulty breathing/wheezing
  • Chest pain
  • Skin rash
  • Worsening sore throat
  • A cough that gets worse or becomes painful
  • Severe headache
  • Mental confusion
  • Blue or gray lips, skin or nails
  • Worsening earache