A Des Moines area pediatrician says the new H-1-N-1 flu appears to be causing an increase in bronchitis and pneumonia among kids. Doctor Peter Heatherington is a general practitioner at Blank Children’s Hospital. He says the hospital’s health care clinic is seeing more cases of bacterial infection than usual for this time of year and it’s most likely linked to H-1-N-1.
“What tends to happen with those infections, as it runs its course, either the children just tend to get over it or they may be without fever for a few days then spike a fever and then start to develop those complications…maybe bronchitis, pneumonia, an ear infection or sinus infection,” Heatherington said. Younger children often have trouble clearing their throat and nose of secretions, which can lead to bacteria.
“It’s a consequence of having more of the viral illness and then they will sometimes get the secondary bacterial infection,” Heatherington said. “I think it’s pretty easy to say it’s a time a year we don’t tend to see as many sick children as we’re seeing this year.” Heatherington says if your child’s fever returns after a few days, call your pediatrician to see if you should schedule a visit. While antibiotics cannot be used to treat the flu, he says they can be used to treat a bacterial infection like bronchitis or pneumonia.