This school year is starting off with a bang when it comes to illnesses going around in the community.

“We’re treating kids for strep throat and there’s a viral stomach bug going around with vomiting, nausea and diarrhea,” says Dr. Pilar Bradshaw. “We’re also seeing kids with a really bad cold with congestion and coughing.”

Reducing the risk of illness
Dr. Bradshaw expects to see an uptick in seasonal illnesses due to kids being in close proximity in the classroom. She offers parents a few tips on reducing their children’s risk of getting sick.

“It’s very helpful to have hand sanitizer in your car when you pick your kids up at the end of the school day. And as soon as everyone gets home, have the kids change into fresh clothes, wash all exposed surfaces of their skin, including their arms, if they wore short sleeves, as well as their hands and face because they’re often carrying germs home with them,” Dr. Bradshaw says.

It’s also important that everyone in the family is getting enough sleep each night and eating a healthy diet because both play a role in keeping the body’s immune system strong. And with flu season right around the corner, Dr. Bradshaw encourages parents to vaccinate themselves and their children against influenza.

“The flu shot doesn’t perfectly prevent all the symptoms of influenza. However, it does clearly decrease the risk that your child, and you, will end up hospitalized or dying from influenza,” she says.

There are indications that this year’s flu season could hit earlier than expected. Most pharmacies in the area already have flu vaccine available. Eugene Pediatrics expects to receive flu vaccine in September. Once we receive it, we will schedule several Saturday flu clinics to help accommodate families in getting their children vaccinated. Flu shots are also available during well check visits.