After the lockdowns issued in most countries, common viruses affecting children that had disappeared throughout the pandemic have started to reappear. Hospitals that were usually quiet most times of the year have started getting regular children’s visits concerning respiratory infections. Doctors have been reporting a rise in non-COVID diseases in children.
Though public health measures like staying home, masking, and physical social distancing were to curb the spread of coronavirus, it also prevented other respiratory diseases such as human parainfluenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and colds. But, specialists say it is because children were not exposed to those viruses for many years. Hence they haven’t increased the normal antibodies they should have for immunity.
Since things are getting normal and children are now seeing each other, those infections can now be seen coming up. They can recover independently from most of the illnesses, but the rise in RSV is alarming. Though it is a common virus, it can cause severe breathing problems in toddlers and infants; hence hospital may be required.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US issued a health recommendation to health care providers notifying them about the rise of RSV in many parts of the country. They were asked to test for RSV in children having acute respiratory symptoms if COVID-19 was eliminated. According to them, RSV is the top common cause of pneumonia and bronchiolitis in children below one year.
A rise in influenza has not been noticed yet. Nevertheless, after a year with no flu season, mainly because of COVID-19 precautions, the return of influenza is expected. Fortunately, there is an effective and safe vaccine for when the flu returns. Therefore, immunologists suggest that this year is the perfect time to get a flu vaccination.
Though more respiratory infections are seen in children, experts say that should not alarm parents since it is not a big deal for most children. Instead, they can use some of the COVID-19 precautions they learned during the pandemic to curb the spread of childhood viruses.
Precautions like hand washing reduce respiratory virus infection risks. Specialists have proven that washing hands reduces infection risks by 25%. Keeping children at home when sick should also be adopted.