Illnesses and Vaccinations

A child with a mild case of cardiomyopathy can usually recover safely from most common childhood illnesses, but a child with severe cardiomyopathy will need to be carefully monitored for certain illnesses with high temperatures (flu or pneumonia) or that are highly contagious (respiratory-synchtial virus), which can put additional strain on the child's heart. There are ways to prevent serious illnesses from affecting the heart:

  • Continue with routine immunizations at recommended ages.
  • Consider additional immunizations such as an influenza or pneumococcal vaccine annually.
  • Avoid people who are ill or crowds during the flu season.
  • Wash your and your child's hands frequently with anti-bacterial soap.

Over the Counter Medication

When your child does get sick and requires over the counter or prescription medicine, it is best to check with your child’s cardiologist about whether it will work safely with your child's heart medications. Certain cold and flu medicines with pseudoephedrine should be avoided because they can cause irregular or faster heart. For decongestants, prescriptions for pseudoephedrine-free medicines may be recommended.

When to Call the Doctor

Knowing your child's normal temperature, as well as heart and respiratory rates when asleep and awake, can help determine how sick your child is. As a general rule, a physician should be contacted immediately if your child shows symptoms of wheezing, rapid (40 or more breaths per minute) or "tight" breathing, coughing, no appetite and listlessness related to illness.

 

Hospital Care

 

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