Common Winter Illnesses in Kids

December 28, 2020

There are a few illnesses that are common among children in the Winter. Adults can catch them too, but the symptoms are usually very different. With the second wave of COVID happening, it’s important to keep your children safe from other preventable diseases. If you or a loved one feels under the weather this season, bring them to AFC Urgent Care Worcester. Here is a list of winter illnesses in children we can diagnose and provide treatment for:


Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV, is a common and contagious illness that affects most babies and toddlers. In most cases, the symptoms are similar to a cold- runny nose and a cough. In other cases, however, the virus can progress to develop pneumonia, bronchitis, and inflammation of the lungs. Seek medical attention if your child starts experiencing the following:

  • A wheezing noise when they breathe
  • A cough with mucus that isn’t clear
  • Trouble breathing
  • Signs of dehydration

Babies under ten weeks, those born prematurely, or those with weakened immune systems are at the highest risk of contracting RSV and developing complications. To avoid your baby catching RSV, do not let them come into contact with anyone showing cold symptoms, avoid large crowds, and disinfect surfaces and objects frequently. There is no direct treatment for RSV, but there are OTC medications that may help with symptoms. 

Flu Season 

Flu season affects children just as much as it affects adults. The symptoms are very similar to adults’ cases, but some cases with children involve vomiting or diarrhea. The best way to protect your child from the flu is by getting a flu shot. It is recommended for anyone over six months. You should seek medical attention if your child has the flu and symptoms begin to worsen, or if they experience any of the following:

  • Rapid breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Chest pain or severe muscle pain
  • Dehydration

Children under age 5, babies under six months, or children with weakened immune systems have the highest chance of catching the flu. Mothers who are pregnant should receive their flu shot, as it is assumed to protect the baby for several months after birth before they can receive their vaccination. 


Croup is an inflammation of a child’s airway that produces a barking cough. This infection usually is not severe and will go away at home within three to five days. Croup typically starts as a cold and then develops into a loud cough, a fever, and noisy breathing. It generally is worse at night. You should seek medical attention if your child starts experiencing:

  • Noisy or high-pitched breathing when inhaling and exhaling
  • Has difficulty swallowing
  • Rapid breaths or difficulty breathing
  • Develops a blue tint around the mouth, nose, or fingernails

Children under three are at the highest risk of contracting croup, as their airways are the smallest. There is no vaccine for croup, but washing your hands, disinfecting surfaces and objects, and keeping your child away from anyone who is sick are the best ways to avoid catching it. Certain OTC medications, using humidifiers at night, and sitting in upright positions may help with symptoms. 

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