Respiratory viruses are catching up with children after years of taking COVID precautions

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Now that mask rules have been relaxed and school schedules have returned to near pre-pandemic normal, children are finally catching the virus, health experts say they have not had it before.

Pediatrics Health care systems have reported high levels of respiratory syncytial virus, known as RSV, and influenza in the last month as kids experienced their first fall without public health measures due to COVID.

Dallas-based Children’s Health recorded 316 RSV cases in the week ending October 25, compared with just 73 cases in the same week in 2021. Cook Children in Fort Worth reported 246 schools cases of respiratory illness between October 16 and October 22, a significant increase from the roughly 50 cases seen during the same period last year. RSV patients are currently filling half of the beds in Cook’s pediatric ICU.

For most people, RSV causes mild, cold-like symptoms, including stuffy nose, cough, and fever, but the virus can be serious or even fatal to infants and children. compromised immune systems and the elderly. This virus is having an unreasonably high number of cases nationwide.

“Normally, we don’t see a significant increase in RSV cases until the end of October to December,” said Dr. Laura Romano, Dr. Laura Romano, Children’s Hospital. seeing an exponential increase in cases, which is completely unexpected and it’s worrying because we don’t know when we’ll hit the peak.”

Previous respiratory illnesses on a predictable schedule have been eliminated two years after the COVID-19 pandemic. Wearing masks and going to school online to prevent the spread of coronavirus also prevents outbreaks of flu, RSV, and the common cold among children.

Dr Preeti Sharma said: “For the toddler group, this is the first time they have been involved in a group child care environment or engaged in activities with members outside the family. , a UT Southwestern pediatric researcher who works at the Department of Children’s Health.

“There are children that have been very sheltered for several years, and so the amount of antibodies circulating in that population is very low,” she said.

The number of flu cases, although relatively low, is growing much faster than in previous years. Dallas County reported 102 positive flu tests for the week ending October 15, nearly eight times the total of 13 reported for the same week in 2021.

And hospitals, desperately needing a lull in COVID-19 cases, are waiting to see if the virus spikes again and when. Several European countries such as Germany, Austria, and Italy have reported increasing numbers of cases, and new, highly contagious omicron byproducts BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 are spreading in parts of the United States.

Doctors and other health officials say they hope this winter won’t be as bad as last year’s omicron-fuelled COVID surge, but it’s too early to say whether the surge in many viral illnesses will at the same time causing problems for local health or care systems.

“As we go into the colder months, if we have COVID and we have RSV and respiratory diseases Like the flu, it can be a challenging winter,” said Steve Love, CEO and president of the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Board. I don’t think it’s like the height of a pandemic, but what I do suggest is that it could bring in a sizable number of patients. “

Most children will handle these respiratory illnesses well, although they may feel uncomfortable for a few days. However, parents should seek medical attention, if they notice their child is having trouble breathing, Romano said.

“If they’re breathing faster than usual, their stomachs are drawn in, the skin between the ribs is sucked in, they need to be seen by someone sooner rather than later,” she says. “That’s where we advise parents: Don’t call their pediatrician, just take them to an urgent care facility or emergency room.”

Parents should also be aware of any signs of dehydration, especially in infants, such as diapers that don’t come out very wet, don’t produce tears when they cry, or seeing their baby’s soft spots appear to be indented. in.

The best way to prevent the spread of these illnesses is to practice good health hygiene, like washing your hands often and staying home if you or your child are sick. Flu and COVID-19 vaccines are available for different age groups.

Anyone 6 months of age or older can get the flu shot and the initial COVID-19 vaccine series. The new bivalent booster dose, which protects against both the original and omicron strains of COVID-19, is available to anyone 5 years of age and older who has received a prior dose of COVID-19 for at least two months.

The flu is coming. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself and your family

2022 Dallas Morning News.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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