Parent Resources Billing InformationHealth LibraryNew Parent ResourcesChoosing a PediatricianInterviewing a PediatricianWhat to Pack in Your Hospital BagNewborn Well Child ScheduleNew Patient Forms What You Should Know About Respiratory Viruses We understand that you may have a lot of questions about how to keep your child safe from respiratory viruses like the common cold, the flu and novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Valley Children’s Primary Care Group has developed this page as a resource for parents looking to learn more about how to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. We encourage parents to visit the Centers for Disease Control website or the California Department of Public Health website, which issues daily updates on COVID-19 in English and Spanish. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s health, call your child’s pediatrician. If your child is experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911 or visit the closest emergency department. About viral respiratory infections The months of October through March is typically known as “cold and flu season.” During this time, it’s common for us to see patients with the common cold, flu strains and other respiratory viruses. Right now, we are also concerned about novel coronavirus (COVID-19), a new type of virus causing mild to severe respiratory symptoms in people in our region and around the world. Common symptoms of viral respiratory infections Common symptoms of viral respiratory infections include: Fever greater than 100.5 Cough Nasal congestion (stuffy nose) Sore throat Headache and/or body ache Sometimes vomiting and/or diarrhea Treatments for viral respiratory infections You may hear and see a lot of well-intentioned advice from friends, on social media and on the internet for how to treat or cure viral respiratory infections. However, it’s important to understand that there is no cure for the common cold and most other viral respiratory infections. We often get questions about using antibiotics – while antibiotics can be used to treat bacterial infections, they have no effect on viral infections. It’s important, when you or your child is ill, that you stay home and limit contact with other people. If your child is feeling ill and is showing signs of a viral respiratory infection, here are a few specific things you can do at home: Call your pediatrician and report your child’s symptoms. Don’t come straight to the doctor’s office – it’s best to call ahead and ask for your pediatrician’s advice on whether you should bring your child in. Get your child in to a comfortable bed and have them rest. Give your child lots of liquids. Good hydration helps keep mucus moving and can help prevent complications caused by mucus plugging. How long do viral respiratory infections last? Most respiratory infections last 7 to 10 days and can be treated at home without needing a visit to your child’s pediatrician. Since viruses spread easily, bringing the child to a healthcare facility risks spreading their virus to others, and also risks you or your child picking up other viruses that may be in the environment. If your child is sick, it’s best to call ahead and ask whether you should bring your child to the pediatrician’s office. When you call your pediatrician, you may be asked to closely watch your child at home and report back if your child appears to be getting worse or distressed, or is not getting better after 7 to 10 days. Where can I find more information? There are many suggestions floating around online concerning viral respiratory infections and their symptoms and treatments. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has developed a dynamic health information website called healthychildren.org. Here you will find pediatrician-developed resources regarding caring for your child’s cold or flu (English | Spanish), fevers (English | Spanish), nasal congestion (English | Spanish) and headaches (English | Spanish), as well as other common pediatric illnesses, symptoms and conditions.