The child goes back to school, and the parents also go back to monitor Your child’s cough, runny nose, fever, and other symptoms of illness. But this year will be different. The common cold and other viruses that have all but disappeared during the COVID-19 pandemic are starting to make a comeback, and no one knows exactly how this will play out in homes and classrooms.
This is because very few people are implementing infection control, even with highly contagious omicron and its sub-variants such as BA .5) is still in circulation. Doctors believe that relaxing mitigation measures could open the door to non-COVID illnesses that behave erratically, such as causing infections at odd times of the year.
“My biggest concern is that we’ve seen a lot of viral infections over the summer,” says Yale Medical Pediatrician Magna Dias said. “So when we go back indoors and kids get together again, that could mean we’re going to see a lot more infections — including COVID-19 and other viral infections.”
This means parents need to develop strategies to protect their children from all kinds of infectious diseases, not just COVID-19. Yale medical experts answer some common virus questions parents have when their kids return to school.
1. What viruses should parents be aware of this fall?
“We’re watching everything,” Yale Medicine Pediatric Infectious Diseases Expert, MD, Thomas Murray, MD, said. He noted that in a given year, many types of viruses circulate among children, including influenza and rhinoviruses, which cause the common cold and are usually not a cause for concern. But there are many other viruses that parents need to be aware of, including:
- RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), which can cause cold-like symptoms and can cause serious complications in young children. It has hospitalized as many as 60,000 children in the pre-pandemic winter, the most common season. RSV appears to be gone in 2020-2021, before returning in parts of the South and Brooklyn, New York, during the off-season of spring and summer.
- Adenovirus, very common, usually causes a mild cold or Flu-like symptoms. Notably, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has now issued a health alert notification to clinicians and a media statement for parents as it investigates an increase in unexplained hepatitis cases in children; adenovirus testing in some cases positive.
- Human parainfluenza virus (HPIV), which can cause fever, Symptoms of runny nose and cough. Patients usually recover on their own. However, HPIV can also cause more serious illnesses, such as pneumonia.
- Human paracholecystovirus (PeV), a common virus that can Causes fever, rash and respiratory infection. But a variant known as “type three” (PeV-A3) can be life-threatening in young babies. When the virus was found to be spreading in multiple states, the CDC issued a health advisory in July and urged pediatric health care providers to monitor newborns and infants younger than one year old with signs of serious illness for the disease.
- Enterovirus D68 is another virus that experts are monitoring, the most It often affects infants, children and adolescents, and may pose a particularly serious risk to children with asthma. The virus is also suspected of causing a polio-like disease called acute flaccid myelitis (AFM). Although small numbers of the virus have been reported since 1987, the CDC reported outbreaks between August and November in 2014, 2016 and 2018. Interestingly, no outbreaks were reported in 2020, the first year of the pandemic. “Again, we’re always on the alert for different viruses like this,” Dr Murray said.
- Monkeypox, a rare disease similar to smallpox, but not Too serious and has recently spread mainly among men who have sex with men. Pediatricians remain vigilant because its spread during this outbreak is so unusual. It causes symptoms like chills and fever, and sometimes a very painful rash. “Currently, in the absence of known exposure, the likelihood that your child’s rash will become monkeypox is very low,” Dr. Murray said, adding that other diseases, such as chickenpox, can cause a similar rash. Families should always notify their pediatrician of exposure to monkeypox or any other unusual illness, he added.
2. What does it mean to have a virus in the “low season”?
Now, the unpredictability of all infectious diseases is in enhancement.
The timing of the flu cases is an example of the erratic viral behavior that has already occurred this year. What should have been a tapering of cases rose in May at the end of another mild pandemic flu season, and the season extended into June, a rare occurrence, Dr. Murray said.
The Yale Clinical Virology Laboratory produces weekly virus summaries that provide small snapshots of other odd virus activity.
Taking a week in July as an example, the summary includes RSV, influenza, parainfluenza, adenovirus, HMPV, rhinovirus , PeV, Norovirus, most of which are rare in summer. The numbers reflect a phenomenon that experts around the world are monitoring.
While the numbers are low—for example, there was only one case of PeV that week—it is still worth noting that these types of infections It happens during the off-season, Dr. Murray explained.
“No one knows if this means things are going to get really bad in the fall, or if we’ve got a new situation, All of these viruses ebb and flow from month to month,” Dr Dias said.
3. Is the virus worse in the “off season”?
PhD. At this point, in terms of individual infections, the answer appears to be no, Dias said. “I think we’re seeing maybe the same percentage of people going to hospital, but more because more people are sick now.”
Viruses tend to spread on their own, and it is unusual for children to have more than one virus at a time. But some young patients admitted to Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital in May and June were diagnosed with two or even three viruses at the same time.
“We’ve seen it before, so it’s not entirely unusual, but it does seem to be happening more now than it used to be before ,” said Dr Dias.
4. Parents should also worry about coronavirus this fall ?
Yes; both doctors say it Still a threat to children and adults.
In the same Yale virology report showing a very low number of non-COVID viruses in a week in July But unusually, COVID-19 cast a huge shadow over 842 cases. “With BA.5, there’s a lot of risk because there’s a lot of virus around,” Dr Murray said.
Children tend to develop mild illness from COVID-19, but prevention is still important as so many children die disease, Dr. Dias explained. She added that some people also develop long-term Covid-19, which is characterized by lingering symptoms that are not well understood.
5. What symptoms should parents look for?
Many respiratory infections have similar symptoms, Dr. Murray does not expect these symptoms to be different from previous years. “They include high fever and difficulty breathing. If a new rash develops, or if you are concerned about your child’s breathing, you should make the pediatric provider aware of this,” he said, adding that some symptoms may not only be signs of the virus, but is a sign of a virus. Other bacterial infections and/or typical infant infections.
For COVID-19 and the flu, the CDC lists a wide range of symptoms, including cough, shortness of breath, A runny or stuffy nose, fatigue, sore throat, or even loss of taste or smell (though the latter is more common in COVID-19). In both cases, symptoms can vary from person to person: some children have no symptoms at all; others have cases that range from asymptomatic to mild to severe.
6. When should parents call the pediatrician ?
Dr. Murray said it was not necessary to Symptoms all call, and some can be confusing. “Anytime a parent is worried, it’s best to call to reassure them.”
Calling parents may also be important if children If you have a chronic medical condition, see your doctor, as this can make them more prone to serious symptoms or complications from the virus. The same is true for young babies, Dr. Murray added.
Parents should also contact their pediatrician if the baby is younger than three months old with a fever or difficulty comforting. “If they’re grumpy and you hold them and they calm down, that’s fine. But if you hold them and they’re still absolutely irritable – no matter what you do you can’t calm them down – that’s a Babies need to be assessed,” he said.
7. How do doctors diagnose children when different viruses have similar symptoms?
If the child has respiratory symptoms, the pediatrician The first thing it will do is recommend a COVID-19 test. “The symptoms of many of these diseases overlap greatly,” Dr. Murray said. “As a result, it is nearly impossible for a doctor to differentiate between COVID-19 and another virus without a test.”
If With a negative COVID test, it’s helpful to know that a mild cold or virus usually starts to get better within a few days, but if symptoms worsen, the doctor may consider testing your child for the flu, which could benefit from treatment.
RSV detection is primarily for surveillance purposes. But it can also help decide whether to isolate a child from other children if they are in the hospital, or have siblings at home who either have a chronic medical condition that puts them at risk, or a very young baby.
8. How do parents treat their children with these diseases?
Although every virus is different, many common Respiratory viruses respond to the same type of treatment, Dr. Murray explained. “If the COVID test comes back negative, in most cases, parents just need to make sure the baby or child is okay — they’re breathing normally — and provide supportive care,” Dr. Murray said. He added that they should make sure their children are well hydrated and give them over-the-counter medicines such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen if they have a fever. “The vast majority of children will do just fine.”
If their symptoms persist, parents need to contact health care again provider, he added.
9. How can parents help their children stop coughing?
“If they are over 1 year old, we recommend giving them a teaspoon Honey, clinical trials have shown that honey actually helps with coughing,” Dr Dias said. “They usually cough the most while sleeping because they are lying flat and that position interferes with the child’s sleep.” For For children 1 year and older, she also recommends placing two pillows under the child’s head or raising the head of the bed so they sleep at an angle, “so that gravity helps the phlegm flow down,” she adds.
10. Why are COVID-19 and flu vaccines good for kids Very important, when should they be vaccinated?
“Vaccination is really the most important thing is a tool we use to prevent many infectious diseases,” Dr Dias said. She added that it reduces confusion when there is so much virus circulating.
The COVID-19 vaccine reduces the risk of hospitalization and death and is available anytime for children 6 months and older. However, for influenza, the CDC recommends getting the flu vaccine by the end of October, although it is available at other times. (Some children 6 months to 8 years old need two doses of the flu vaccine.)
Although the flu shot is not always Perfectly matched to the main strain of a given year, but it is a powerful tool for preventing infections that can be fatal to some children. Also, it could mean the difference between mild and severe illness in a child who is still sick despite being vaccinated.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent RSV infection.
If possible, Dr. Murray encourages ge families to schedule a health check before school to assess their child’s overall health, And update them on immunizations they may have missed during the pandemic, including those for measles, whooping cough (whooping cough) and other diseases.
“When vaccination levels in the population drop, these viruses do come back,” Dr. Murray said. Measles in particular, he added, “is very contagious and kids can get very sick from it.”
11. How to keep children healthy without worrying about them?
Children’s mental health, says Dr. Murray The problem is a major one. Parents should avoid adding new worries on top of any anxiety their child may already have about school. “The number one priority right now is figuring out how to do things as safely as possible because it’s important to everyone’s mental health.”
Dr Murray added that this time before school is a good time to discuss mental health or whatever is on the minds of the children. “You can also spend time chatting over dinner, taking a walk at night, or going for a weekend hike,” he said. “Take time to talk to your kids about how they’re doing.”
As for infections, Dr. Dias said most kids will do just fine. “The virus is always there, and kids are generally resilient in fighting off infections, even when they’re hospitalized,” she said. “But vaccinations and regular check-ups with a pediatrician can provide the support needed to help your child get better.”
Citation : RSV, Cold, Fever, COVID: This year’s Back to School Guidelines for Parents (August 16, 2022) Retrieved August 16, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-08-rsv-colds-fever-covid-year.html
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