As hard as we parents may try, we cannot protect children from every organism that may be infectious. Luckily, most organisms don’t cause harm because a child’s immune system can fight against them.
When a viral, fungal, or parasitic infection occurs in a child, knowing the best way to combat the infection is important. Certain medications only work for specific illnesses, while others may even worsen conditions. Always consult a medical professional if you have any concerns or questions regarding treatment.
Fortunately, viruses don’t always make a child sick because their immune system has resistance to many of these germs. The flu, the common cold, and illnesses such as COVID-19 are all examples of viral infections.
In the event that your child does contract a viral infection, antibiotics won’t help. Often, the only treatment is to reduce symptoms until the infection passes.
There are a few antiviral drugs designed for specific viral infections, such as amantadine and acyclovir. But a child with a viral illness such as the common cold should be made comfortable while the virus runs its course, as there is no treatment for these types of infections.
Most antiviral medications simply prevent the virus from spreading but will not treat the existing virus. The best treatment is to rest and allow time to recover.
Symptoms of a viral infection may include symptoms similar to the flu, such as:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sneezing or runny nose
If a viral infection does not show improvement or gets worse during or after 2 days, consult your child’s doctor.
Treating Fungal Infections
Fungal infections are caused by inhaling spores or sometimes through a cut in the skin. These infections can be especially dangerous for children and adolescents with weakened immune systems.
While some fungi do no harm to the body, others can have severe effects. Common fungal infections include ringworm of both the body or scalp, jock itch, yeast infections, and athlete’s foot.
Symptoms of fungal infections may include:
- Skin rash
- Itchy skin
- Redness or darkening of the skin
There are a variety of drugs and medications to treat fungal infections. Over-the-counter options are available for many types of these infections, and a doctor can prescribe medications for more serious cases. Commonly, these solutions are topical and easily applied to the skin.
Some antifungal treatments are not approved for use in children. Always consult with a doctor to understand the proper dosage, risks, and side effects before administering new medication for fungal infections.
Parasites contaminate items ranging from water to soil. If a child consumes contaminated food or contracts a parasite, the immune system can often fight it off. Occasionally, however, parasites cause severe infections that should not go untreated.
Some parasitic infections include pinworms, tapeworms, malaria, and trichinosis. Antiparasitic medications exist for these, although some treatments are not as effective as they used to be. Depending on the infection, your doctor may have to request medication only available from the CDC.
Symptoms can include:
- Pain or cramping in the stomach
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Weight loss
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Joint or muscle pain
Parasitic infections typically last anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks, though with proper treatment, the amount of time should decrease significantly.
Get in touch with a Arvada trusted medical professional if your child shows signs of a viral, fungal, or parasitic infection. The sooner the treatment, the quicker the recovery.