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Illness Facts

The links below give an overview of some common ailments.

If you are not sure if your child's symptoms warrant a visit to our office, take a look at the descriptions below to help you with your decision.

If you are still not sure, it is best to contact us just in case.

Illness Facts

illness facts

Dunwoody Pediatrics || Illness


For detailed information on common child and infant ailments you can visit the "Childhood Diseases" CDC's website

Head Lice

Head lice are tiny insects that live on the scalp. They lay eggs, called nits, which stick to hair very close to the scalp. Head lice do not spread disease. Having head lice does not mean you are not clean. Head lice are very common among young children, especially in childcare centers.

How are head lice spread?

  • Head lice spread through direct contact among children or indirectly on items such as hats, combs, hairbrushes, and headphones. They don't fly or hop, but they can crawl very quickly. Although head lice often make the scalp itchy, it is possible to have them without any symptoms.
  • Head lice can't live on pets, such as cats or dogs.
  • Head lice can live up to 3 days off the scalp. Although the eggs can also survive for up to 3 days, they need a warm environment to develop. They are not likely to hatch at room temperature.

How can parents tell if their child has head lice?

To diagnosis a case of head lice, you need to find live lice. On average, children with head lice will have no more than 10 to 20 live lice. They move fast, and are only about the size of a sesame seed. So they can be hard to find. Finding nits, or eggs (which are bigger and easier to see), close to the scalp suggests that there may be a case of head lice. Remember, though, that a child can have a few nits without actually having a case of head lice. If you think your child may have head lice, check the hair for nits immediately, after one week, and then again after two weeks if another child has head lice.

What to look for:

One of the first signs of head lice is itching and scratching the head. Still, it's possible to have head lice without any symptoms. Adult lice, which are 2-4 mm long, are hard to see. The nits (eggs) are easier to see. Nits are grayish-white and oval shaped. Nits are firmly attached to the hair close to the scalp. They may look like dandruff but cannot be flicked off.

How to check :

Good lighting is important. Look for nits by parting hair in small sections, going from one side of the head to the other. Check carefully, looking close to the scalp. close to the scalp, behind the ears, the back of the neck, and the top of the head.

How can head lice be treated?

There are a number of very effective treatments for head lice. All the treatments contain an insecticide that kills the lice.

  • pyrethrin (found in R+C® shampoo/conditioner)
  • permethrin (Nix® or Kwellada-P®)
  • any over the counter treatment for head lice

You don't need a prescription for these products. Follow package directions carefully and read any precautions. Don't leave the shampoo or rinse in hair longer than directed. Rinse hair well after the treatment. It's best to do the treatment and rinsing over a sink, not in the bath or shower, so that other parts of the body don't come in contact with the product. Be sure to repeat the treatment in 7 to 10 days. Do not treat anyone with a head lice product unless you find lice in their hair. Check family members (adults and children) if someone in the house has head lice. Sometimes, the treatments will make the scalp itchy. If your child is scratching after treatment, it doesn't necessarily mean the lice are back. You need to find live lice to make this diagnosis.

Should the house be disinfected if someone has head lice?

Since head lice don't live long off the scalp, and since the eggs aren't likely to hatch at room temperature, you don't need to do excessive cleaning. If you want to get rid of lice or nits from specific items, like hats or pillowcases, either one of these methods will kill them: Wash the items in hot water (66°C) and dry in a hot dryer for 15 minutes, or Store the items in an airtight plastic bag for two weeks.

Should children with head lice stay home from school?

Children with head lice should be treated, and should attend school or childcare as usual. "No-nit" policies, which keep children with head lice away from school, aren't effective. Here's why: Head lice are common among young children. Head lice don't spread disease. Cases of head lice are often misdiagnosed. To confirm a case of head lice, you need to find live lice. Children may have head lice for several weeks with no symptoms. Schools and childcare centers should let families know when there is a case of head lice, and provide information about diagnosis and treatment.

Rotavirus

What is rotavirus?

Rotavirus infection is a viral infection of the digestive tract. It is the most common cause of severe diarrhea in infants and young children in the United States. Rotavirus is easily spread by hand-to-mouth contact with stool from an infected person. Most children with rotavirus diarrhea recover on their own. Some children may become very ill with severe vomiting, diarrhea, and life-threatening loss of fluids that requires hospitalization.

How do people get rotavirus infection?

Rotavirus spreads very easily. The virus is transmitted by hand-to-mouth contact with stool from an infected person. The virus can be passed from one person to another by touching a hand contaminated by the virus. The virus can also be transmitted by merely touching a surface or object that has been contaminated by an infected person. The virus then enters the body through contact with the mouth. Children can spread rotavirus both before and after they develop symptoms.

What are the signs and symptoms of rotavirus infection?

Rotavirus infection usually starts with fever and vomiting, followed by diarrhea. The diarrhea can be mild to severe and generally lasts 3-9 days. Illness usually begins 3 days after exposure. Children with severe diarrhea can lose body fluids very quickly and may need to be hospitalized for special therapy to replace fluids and restore chemical balance. The seriousness of infection generally decreases with the number of infections. First infections tend to be the most severe.

Who is at risk for rotavirus infection?

Every child is likely to be infected with rotavirus at least once in the first 5 years of life. Severe diarrhea and dehydration occur mainly in children aged 3 to 35 months. Children who have been infected once can become infected again. Older children and adults can also get rotavirus infection.

What is the treatment for rotavirus infection?

Viral infections are not treatable with antibiotics. The most effective therapy is to encourage sick children to drink fluids to avoid dehydration. However, the fluids should be given in very small amounts every 15 minutes. (Approximately 1 ounce at a time).

How can rotavirus infection be prevented?

Other than vaccination, there is no effective way to completely eliminate rotavirus infection or its spread. Washing with soaps or cleansers does not kill the virus but will help reduce the spread of infection. To prevent the spread of all diarrheal diseases, it is important to maintain strict hygienic practices at home and in day-care centers. Wash hands after using the toilet, after helping a child use the toilet, after diapering a child, and before preparing or serving food.

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