Birmingham doctors are seeing a higher incidence of respiratory illness in children so far this school year and some illnesses can last up to a week or two.
Even though children have only been back to school for a few weeks, sick kids are filling up doctor's offices across the Birmingham area.
Several pediatric practices in Birmingham report a higher than normal amount of upper respiratory infections in school age children, including Redmont Pediatrics and Metro Pediatrics PC.
Dr. Christina Cordell with Redmont Pediatrics said they're seeing a lot of upper respiratory infections with sore throat, cough and congestion. Some cases also have fever.
"I feel like once school has been back for a week or two, we can see an upswing in upper respiratory infections, but it seems like this year we're seeing even more than what's typical," said Dr. Cordell.
She recommends that schools remind students to practice good hygiene, including washing hands and covering nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing. She said younger children should also keep their hands out of their mouths.
"When school gets back in session, kids do tend to swap germs pretty easily," said Dr. Cordell.
Symptoms can be treated with over-the-counter medicines like Tylenol and Motrin, and children should be kept home from school until they are fever free for 24 hours without the use of medicine, or if they are continually coughing.
"I think that's disruptive for a class and hard for a child to be able to learn when they need to," Dr. Cordell said about the nasty cough that can accompany these illnesses.
No specific viruses have been identified and doctors' offices report only a few isolated cases of strep throat.
If your child has symptoms of fever, sore throat, coughing or difficulty breathing, call your doctor.