Illnesses rise as students return to school

As school starts back up, so do some illnesses.
Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 10:47 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - As school starts back up, so do some illnesses.

“Typically this time of year as children get closer to each other and stay indoors, the two main things we see would be respiratory illnesses, so those with coughs, colds, or sore throats,” Dr. Dawn Nolt, a Professor of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital said. “Also gastrointestinal illnesses and those would be with vomiting and loose stool.”

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Inside Fairley’s Pharmacy in NE Portland, manager Daniel Lee said they typically see families purchasing the same meds this time of year.

“Generally allergy medicine which helps with runny nose, sneezing,” Lee said. “We see tons of Tylenol to help with fever and pain. Also cough medication which are usually behind the counter. Those are pretty common.”

Dr. Nolt said if a child does get sick to keep them hydrated, give them the age appropriate doses of medicine, let them rest up, and avoid others if possible.

“It’s always important to stay up-to-date on vaccines because that will ward off a lot of respiratory illnesses.” Dr. Nolt said. “We hope that families will teach their kids how to properly wash their hands and also how to cover their coughs, colds, and sneezes.”

Lee said they have several vaccines available at Fairley’s.

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“Vaccinations go a long way,” Lee said. “Flu vaccines are readily available now so you can get them here and at other pharmacies that do vaccinations. COVID vaccines, the new one for the season is going to be approved soon within the next couple of weeks. So I would definitely be on the lookout for that. The RSV vaccine has been approved and they are available as well.”

While most childhood illnesses can be treated at home, Dr. Nolt said to have children be seen by a professional if they are having trouble breathing, if there is any pain or pressure in their chest, if they seem really confused, or if they are having difficulty waking up or staying awake.