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Viral Syndrome In Children


Viral syndrome is a general term used for a viral infection that has no clear cause. Your child may have a fever, muscle aches, or vomiting. Other symptoms include a cough, chest congestion, or nasal congestion (stuffy nose).



Your child may need the following:

  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much medicine to give your child and how often to give it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If your child takes blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for him. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.
  • Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.
  • Give your child's medicine as directed. Call your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Care for your child at home:

  • Use a cool-mist humidifier to help your child breathe easier if he has nasal or chest congestion.
  • Give saline nose drops to your baby if he has nasal congestion. Place a few saline drops into each nostril and then use a suction bulb to suction the mucus.
  • Give your child plenty of liquids to prevent dehydration. Ask how much liquid your child should drink each day and which liquids are best for him.

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • Your child has a fever for more than 4 days.
  • Your child is not getting better.
  • You child does not stop vomiting.
  • Your child does not want to drink any fluids.
  • Your child has a rash or ear pain.
  • Your child is irritable and fussy, and you cannot calm him down.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • Your child has trouble breathing or is breathing very fast.
  • Your child complains of a stiff neck and a bad headache.
  • Your child has a seizure.
  • Your child has a dry mouth, cracked lips, cries without tears, or is dizzy.
  • Your child looks weak or more sleepy than usual.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.