SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A sniffle; a cough; a fever. Your kid is sick, and in this day and age, there are plenty of things to worry about. Is it RSV; the flu; COVID-19 even? To get a grasp on what’s currently going around, KELOLAND News reached out to Sanford pediatrician Bianca Johnson.
“RSV season is traditionally time from November to April,” Johnson began, noting however that we did have an unusual summer outbreak of the disease in 2021. “We’re starting to see RVS peaking again.”
“Influenza is also starting to be active in the community,” Johnson continued. “Last year we didn’t see as much influenza with all the social distancing and masking, and now we’re starting to see it present.”
As well as flu and RSV, Johnson points out that there has also been a steady stream of COVID-19 patients.
These three viruses are some of the main attention grabbers, for obvious reasons, but they’re not all that’s around. “This is in addition to all the regular viruses that cause colds — rhinoviruses and all those things are still out there and active.”
Telling which of these illnesses your kiddo has can be tough. “It’s difficult,” said Johnson.
In particular, she points out influenza as a virus that can be tough to easily identify in young children. “We will see where they get hit really hard with fevers, body aches, respiratory stuff — but then younger kids can also have [gastrointestinal] symptoms. They can have vomiting and sometimes even a little bit of diarrhea.”
One challenge for parents is that all of the above symptoms can also be present with COVID-19. “For me, it can be difficult to tell the difference between COVID and influenza,” said Johnson.
RSV is a concern as well, especially for young children. “Those under the age of one I worry more so with RSV, especially if their parents can hear them wheezing,” said Johnson. “Older kiddos can definitely get very sick with RSV as well, but those kids under the age of one tend to be affected more.”
Johnson has advice on how to keep your kids healthy (at least as healthy as possible) throughout the season.
I’m a big proponent of the basics. Adequate rest; you know teenagers need at minimum 8 hours, actually closer to 9 is what they should be getting. Kindergarten age kids a lot of times need 10 hours of sleep, and then kids under that — anywhere between 10-12 hours of sleep.
Johnson also emphasizes good nutrition and lots of water to keep immune systems at the ready, and of course, good hygiene. “Good handwashing,” she said. “If you are sick, stay home — get rest, get healthy.”