During this time of year it is common to witness an increase in respiratory infections (colds, flu) and allergies and, with winter approaching and its low temperatures, it is important to be able to properly differentiate the symptoms. In this way, the most appropriate treatment will be provided to children at home and contagion or exacerbation of their allergies can be prevented.

For Dr. Manuel Gutiérrez, director of the Medicine course at UPC, although respiratory infections are usually common in times of climate change, it is not clear that it is the climate that generates them. In the case of allergies, these usually develop at this time of year due to agents such as mold and mites that are favored by humidity between the months of March to November.

Both allergic rhinitis and respiratory infections share symptoms such as nasal congestion and discharge, as well as sneezing. Both can be accompanied by cough, although this is more common in respiratory infection. An important differentiator is the presence of fever in the child, which may accompany the respiratory infection. In addition, other differences can be noticed during the evolution process. For example, in respiratory infections, the symptoms have a cycle, while the symptomatology of the allergy can worsen or disappear depending on the child’s exposure to the substances that caused the allergy.

When to see a doctor?

The Director of the Medicine course at UPC comments that once the respiratory infection begins, it will continue its course regardless of what one does. However, it is very important to remain alert to the possibility of a serious condition or any complication in order to see a doctor immediately, such as if there is a fever lasting more than 3 days, weakness greater than expected, difficulty breathing, noisy breathing or fast.

Regarding allergic rhinitis, it is time to seek medical help when the symptoms become frequent or severe and disturb the child’s quality of life and well-being.

What to do to prevent them?

Once the allergy has been diagnosed in the minor, there are treatments that can be followed to control it. Gutiérrez comments that, in the case of a seasonal allergy, prevention plays an important role since treatment can be started in advance to avoid discomfort. It is also important that, if the agents that are triggering the allergy are known, it is recommended that the child be kept away from them.

As for respiratory infections, the best way to prevent contagion is to prevent the minor from being in contact with sick people. In addition, the flu shot can also help keep your child from getting sick.


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