RSV and other illnesses usually seen in winter are making the rounds
After many districts spent the last school year doing virtual learning, kids have been spending time with each other more as society reopens to a greater extent. And as just about any parent can tell you, they’re getting each other sick. While COVID has obviously been the major health concern, kids have been spreading viruses that are more common, but typically arise during the winter months.
Pediatricians nationwide have reported a rise in cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and croup. In normal times RSV would rarely be circulating outside of winter, but as swarms of kids come around each other for the first time in more than a year, they are filling up pediatric wards. RSV can lead to bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small lung airways) and pneumonia in babies and young children.
“We are all bracing for what’s coming this respiratory season when kids go back to school,” Dr. Kristin Moffitt, an infectious diseases physician at Boston Children’s Hospital, told NBC News.
With the vast majority of children under 12 not vaccinated against COVID-19, many schools have been keeping mask requirements in place. They might do a good job of keeping other respiratory illnesses in check as well, although children under 2 should not wear masks as they could be a choking hazard.
The American Academy of Pediatrics “recommends universal masking because a significant portion of the student population is not yet eligible for vaccines, and masking is proven to reduce transmission of the virus and to protect those who are not vaccinated.”
The surge in non-COVID respiratory illnesses among children is just another example how completely the pandemic has disrupted life and how long it will be before things return to “normal” even after restrictions are lifted.