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Colds, Ear Infections, Conjunctivitis, Impetigo, and Strep Throat

Colds, Ear Infections, Conjunctivitis, Impetigo, and Strep Throat

Colds are the most common infection in children and spread rapidly due to poor hand washing practices and the sharing of food and toys. Colds will most often present with a runny nose, cough, nasal congestion and a sore throat. The child might also complain of a headache, body aches and low-grade fever. Colds are caused by viruses, and therefore antibiotics are not indicated in treatment. Treatment is reserved for symptom relief including rest, increased fluid intake and analgesics. Symptoms peak in the first two days of exposure to the virus and last seven to ten days.

Ear Infections

Ear infections are the second most common infections in children. Symptoms include irritability and tugging at the affected ear. Children may run a fever, and in the case of a perforated tympanic membrane, there may be purulent discharge noted. Treatment consists of pain relief with an analgesic and symptoms will typically resolve in two to three days. If symptoms persist, antibiotic therapy using amoxicillin or amoxicillin/clavulanate is recommended for ten days. 


Conjunctivitis is a bacterial infection that is highly contagious and is spread through direct contact with a person carrying the bacteria. The eyelids will have purulent discharge, the conjunctiva reddened and the eyelids may stick together after awakening in the morning. Treatment consists of a broad spectrum antibiotic such as erythromycin ointment or polymyxin-trimethoprim drops for seven to ten days. Symptoms should clear within two days of initiation of antibiotic therapy.


Impetigo is a contagious bacterial skin infection that is spread in the school or daycare setting. This infection presents with vesicles, yellow crusting, and pruritis. Proper skin hygiene is the primary treatment, and topical antibiotics such as mupirocin will hasten the resolution of symptoms. The ointment is applied to the affected area three times a day for seven days, and the lesions should resolve within that time frame.

Strep Throat

 Strep throat presents as a sore throat without accompanying cold symptoms of nasal congestion and discharge. The posterior oropharynx will be erythemic and discrete exudates may be noted on the tonsils. Cervical adenopathy is generally present, and the child may have a fever. Confirmation is done with a rapid antigen test at the bedside. In confirmed cases of A Streptococcus bacteria, analgesics are recommended for pain control and antibiotic therapy using penicillin VK, penicillin G benzathine or amoxicillin for ten days is indicated. Resolution of symptoms should be seen within two to three days.