Throat Maladies Leaving Local Kids Sore, Feverish

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Spring fever is spreading through town and it's making some children sick.

Cases of strep throat normally increase in the spring and the fall, local pediatrician Dr. Dexter Dewitt said, and this spring isn't any different.

This year, children also are coming down with viral tonsillitis, which mimics strep throat symptoms such as high fever and sore throat.

Both illnesses are contagious, and the best way to prevent them is by frequent hand washing, he said.

"Parents should encourage their children to wash their hands after they go to the bathroom, before they eat and whenever common sense dictates," the doctor said.

Only one-third of sore throats are due to bacterial infection (strep throat), Dewitt said. The other two thirds are due to various viral infections or mouth breathing. Sore throats that seem severe in the morning but improve as the day goes on are often caused by persistent mouth breathing at night due to nasal congestion caused by allergies or a cold.

"If a child develops a fever, I recommend they give them (liquid) Ibuprofen -- one teaspoon for every 22 pounds of body weight, and repeat that every six to eight hours with food," Dewitt said.

"Don't keep them bundled in warm clothing. That just keeps the heat in. And have them drink 10 percent more than they normally would for every degree of fever. If they have a 103 degree fever, for instance, they need to drink 30 to 40 percent more fluid."

If a fever lingers for more than three days, Dewitt said, or the child seems to worsen within that three-day window, call a doctor.

"It doesn't make sense to wait three days to call a doctor if they're getting worse, or the parents are worried," he said. "If good sense dictates it, take them to the doctor."

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