Childhood respiratory symptoms can last up to 3 weeks

  • Hay AD & al.
  • Ann Fam Med
  • 1 Jan 2019

  • curated by Dawn O'Shea
  • UK Medical News
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General practitioners (GPs) can advise parents that symptoms of community-acquired respiratory tract infections (RTIs) in children last up to 3 weeks, the authors of a new study say.

Parents of 10,310 children aged from 3 months to less than 15 years were invited to participate in the community-based, online, prospective inception cohort study. Parents of 485 children in 331 families participated, completing baseline data and symptom diaries.

Between February and July 2016, a total of 206 parents reported 346 new RTIs in 259 children. Among the 197 first RTIs reported per family, it took 23 days for 90% (95% CI, 85-94%) of children to recover. Median symptom duration was longer in children with primary care consultations vs those without consultations (9 vs 6 days; P=.06); children aged less than 3 vs >3 years (11 vs 7 days; P<.01 and among children with lower rti symptoms vs upper days p>

Sixteen (8.1%; 95% CI, 4.7-12.8%) of 197 children had at least 1 primary care consultation and a similar proportion had time off school or nursery. Sixty of 188 (31.9%; 95% CI, 25.2-38.6%) parents reported paying for medications for their child’s illness.

However, the authors caution that 8% consultation rate could be an underestimate. They say the finding suggests “there is a significant illness iceberg”. “Policy makers, clinicians, and directors of public health need to be mindful of unintentionally lowering the consultation threshold and increasing the percentage of parents consulting,” they advise.

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