Flu Bugs Going Around Right Now – This page was updated on November 8, 2022. Check with the CDC and CDPHE for updates during the outbreak, and follow all health and safety guidelines issued by your local authorities.
, Do you think? As a parent, you never want your children to get sick. But it does happen, and probably more often than you’d like, especially in the fall and winter. This is the time of year when illnesses such as the common cold, flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and other viruses are rampant. Add in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and you’re probably wondering what bug your child has picked up this time.
Flu Bugs Going Around Right Now
The United States is seeing an unexpected early rise in RSV cases, and hospitalizations among children with RSV in Colorado are at an all-time high. This influx coincides with the start of flu season and an increase in the transmission of COVID-19, which some have called “tridemia” or “triplemia,” so there are many viruses that you or your child can take home.
What’s Going Around
Despite common misconceptions, COVID-19 is still a serious problem. Colorado Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist Samuel Dominguez notes that COVID spreads more easily than other viruses and can make some people more seriously ill than the flu. It can also take longer for symptoms of COVID to appear, which means you can spread the virus before you know you’re sick.
The best way to avoid getting sick with COVID-19, RSV, the flu, or any other respiratory illness is to follow these healthy habits:
Even with precautions, your family is likely to contract a virus during cold and flu season, so it’s important to be prepared and understand the subtle differences between these common illnesses.
With the help of our experts, we’ve created a symptom map to quickly compare symptoms of COVID-19, flu, RSV, colds, and allergies.
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Note: This table should be used as a starting point only. Symptoms may vary from person to person. If your child is sick, talk to the pediatrician about tests and treatment.
Although the terms “cold,” “flu,” “common cold,” and “cold viruses” are often used interchangeably, there are many different viruses that cause respiratory symptoms in children. The severity and treatment methods of these diseases are different, so it is always recommended to consult a specialist.
Getting to the root of symptoms can be difficult, especially in young children. Below, we’ve included more information about each condition, the signs and symptoms to look out for, and why testing is important.
* Less than half of children diagnosed with COVID-19 have a fever. Even if your child does not have a fever, he may have COVID-19.
Prepping For A Twindemic (covid 19 And The Flu)
Although reported cases of COVID-19 have declined significantly since their peak, the virus is still circulating in Colorado and across the country. Testing is the most accurate way to tell the difference between COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses and is an important first step in slowing community spread.
Influenza and RSV tests are also available, as well as a single test that detects influenza, COVID-19, and RSV all at once. Dr. Flu testing is also important, Dominguez said, because there are treatments available to help those who are at high risk of developing serious illness or who are critically ill. Testing for RSV alone is less common because there is no specific treatment for this virus (yet). Your pediatrician can recommend the types of tests your child needs based on their symptoms and risk factors, and those results can guide you on what to do.
Because COVID-19 is highly contagious and it can take longer for people to develop symptoms, a COVID-19 test can alert you as soon as possible if you have the virus, even if you are infected but have no symptoms.
“Knowing if you have the virus earlier allows for earlier isolation and other precautions,” says Dr. Dominguez. “Getting or getting tested for COVID is one of the best things you can do to control the spread of the virus.”
Flu (influenza): Causes, Symptoms, Types & Treatment
Knowing if your child has COVID-1 will also help your pediatrician provide appropriate care. For example, we now have treatments for COVID-19 that can be offered to some patients, just as we have treatments that can relieve symptoms or reduce the risk of getting the flu.
While many pediatricians offer in-office COVID testing, home tests are now widely available, and most are recommended for children over 2 years old. Children up to age 2 can be tested at their pediatrician’s office. If your child tests positive for COVID-19, it’s important to follow CDC guidelines for isolation measures.
If your child feels sick, it is best to call the pediatrician for recommendations. (If you don’t have a pediatrician, call our ParentSmart Healthline.) They can help evaluate your child’s symptoms and decide if COVID-19 testing or testing for multiple viruses is an appropriate next step.
The CDC recommends that anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 get tested as soon as possible, wear a mask, and stay away from others. If you have been exposed but have no symptoms, you should wear a mask for 10 days and test on day 5.
Understanding Flu Viruses
COVID-19 home tests are widely available at many pharmacies and are generally considered accurate for detecting the presence of the coronavirus. These tests give results in about 10 minutes, which means you can take precautions sooner and prevent people around you from getting sick too.
Influenza (commonly known as the flu) is a highly contagious respiratory virus that is present year-round, but is more common during the fall and winter months, or flu season. The flu causes cold-like symptoms that often come on suddenly and can range from mild to severe. Children under 2, adults over 65, pregnant and postpartum women, people taking certain medications, and people with chronic health conditions, including lung or heart disease, may develop serious or life-threatening complications.
Some primary flu symptoms overlap with those of COVID-19, making it difficult to distinguish between the two illnesses. Fortunately, the availability of at-home COVID-19 testing can make it easier to find out if a person has been infected with COVID. If a person is at high risk for serious illness or is eligible for treatment, a flu test may also be recommended.
COVID-19 affects people in different ways. Symptoms of the coronavirus range from mild to severe, and not everyone will have all of them. In general, symptoms in children and adolescents may include:
When Should I See A Doctor For The Flu?
Yes! Experts predict that the 2022 to 2023 flu season could be earlier and more severe, in part because of the easing of COVID-19 restrictions after years of precautions. The best way to prevent the flu is to get the flu vaccine for everyone in your family as soon as possible.
“Everyone should get a flu shot every year, but especially during a pandemic,” says Dr. Dominguez. “Not only does it make you less likely to get the flu, but if you do get it, your symptoms are likely to be less severe.” The flu shot is also very effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death, adds Dr. Dominguez.
Both conditions can be very serious in children. A year-by-year comparison of the numbers for people under the age of 18 shows that COVID-19 has caused more cases, hospitalizations and deaths than the flu in a typical year. Although COVID-19 has been less severe in children than in adults, claims that COVID-19 is not as severe as the flu in children are out of proportion.
Yes! Over the past 15 years, flu-related pediatric deaths reported to the CDC during regular flu seasons have ranged from 37 to 199 deaths per year.
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More than 1,000 children died from COVID-19 in the first two years of the epidemic. That’s an average of more than 500 a year, far more than a bad flu year. This means that COVID-19 has caused more than double the number of annual deaths in children compared to the flu, and the deaths are still rising.
Death is not the only danger of COVID-19. Some people infected with the virus have long-lasting COVID-19, with symptoms persisting months after the initial infection. Although the long-term risk of COVID appears to be lower in children than in adults, children may experience unique problems such as myocarditis, multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), abnormal liver enzymes, fatigue, hair loss, and skin rashes.
Most children infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic, meaning they have no or mild symptoms. In rare cases, however, there are two reasons why some children become very sick.
“One is just a really bad COVID-19 infection that occurs during what we call an acute or sudden infection,” says Dr. Dominguez. “The other is a new condition called infantile multisystem inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-C, which usually occurs 2 to 6 weeks after infection.”
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Cases of COVID-19 continue to decline. But as the number of COVID-19 cases increases, experts expect an increase in MIS-C, says Dr. Dominguez. Although MIS-C is rare, parents should be aware of it
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