What is respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in children?

RSV is a viral illness that causes symptoms such as trouble breathing. It’s the most common cause of inflammation of the small airways in the lungs (bronchiolitis) and pneumonia in babies.

What causes RSV in a child?

RSV is spread when a child comes into contact with fluid from an infected person’s nose or mouth. This can happen if a child touches a contaminated surface and touches his or her eyes, mouth, or nose. It may also happen when inhaling droplets from an infected person’s sneeze or cough.

Which children are at risk for RSV?

A child is more at risk for RSV if he or she is around other people with the virus. RSV often occurs in yearly outbreaks in communities, classrooms, and childcare centers. RSV is more common in winter and early spring months.

RSV can affect a person of any age but causes the most problems for the very young and very old. Most babies have been infected at least once by the time they are 2 years old. Babies can also be reinfected with the virus. Infection can happen again anytime throughout life. RSV infection in older children and adults may seem like an episode of severe asthma. Babies born prematurely or with heart, lung, or immune system diseases are at increased risk for more severe illness.

What are the symptoms of RSV in a child?

Symptoms start about 2 to 5 days after contact with the virus.

The early phase of RSV in babies and young children is often mild, like a cold. In children younger than age 3, the illness may move into the lungs and cause coughing and wheezing. In some children, the infection turns to a severe respiratory disease. Your child may need to be treated in the hospital to help with breathing.

The most common symptoms of RSV include:

The symptoms of RSV can seem like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

How is RSV diagnosed in a child?

The healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. He or she may also ask about any recent illness in your family or other children in childcare or school. He or she will give your child a physical exam. Your child may also have tests, such as a nasal swab or wash. This is a painless test to look for the virus in fluid from the nose. However, because RSV is not treated any differently from other common upper respiratory viruses, this testing is not usually needed.

How is RSV treated in a child?

Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.

Antibiotics are not used to treat RSV. Treatment for RSV is done to help ease symptoms. Treatment may include:

Talk with your child’s healthcare providers about the risks, benefits, and possible side effects of all treatments.

What are possible complications of RSV in a child?

In high-risk babies, RSV can lead to severe breathing illness and pneumonia. This may become life-threatening. RSV as a baby may be linked to asthma later in childhood.

How can I help prevent RSV in my child?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies at high risk for RSV get a medicine called palivizumab. Ask your child’s healthcare provider if your child is at high risk for RSV. If so, ask about monthly injections during RSV season to help prevent infection.

To reduce the risk for RSV, the AAP recommends all babies, especially preterm infants:

Also make sure that household members wash their hands or use an alcohol-based hand cleaner before and after touching a baby with RSV.

When should I call my child’s healthcare provider?

Call the healthcare provider if your child has:

Key points about RSV in children

Next steps

Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:

American Medical Association Recognizing your exceptional contributions this Doctors’ Day

National Doctors’ Day is an opportunity to show our appreciation for the exceptional contributions of America’s physicians.

A single day to recognize all that you do—each and every day—is not enough, especially after this last year. Yet it is a moment for us, and the entire country, to express the depth of our gratitude for your courage, sacrifice, and dedication in the face of immense uncertainty and stress.

On this National Doctors’ Day, the future is looking significantly brighter because of your efforts. Thank you for everything. We have never been prouder, and more honored, to work on your behalf.


Susan R. Bailey, MD
American Medical Association

CALIFORNIA — In the midst of an otherwise grim moment for California during a holiday fueled surge of coronavirus cases, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday introduced a phased reopening plan for getting children back into the classroom — in-person. And the plan could come to fruition as soon as February 2021.

The $2 billion framework was designed to prioritize the Golden State’s youngest students, beginning with transitional kindergarten through second grade. The plan also prioritizes children with disabilities and those who Newsom said Wednesday “have struggled more than most with distance learning.”

In order to reopen, schools will be required to draft a coronavirus safety plan and submit it to the state for approval. And on the state’s end, Newsom said he plans to ramp up testing at schools and provide teachers with protective gear such as millions of surgical masks for free.

The state also plans to launch a public contact tracing system that will track infections among students and educators. Educators and school staff will also join other essential workers in getting vaccinated during Phase 1B of distribution, Newsom said.

And while the push is meant to resume in-person learning as much as possible, distance learning will still be available under the framework.

“Distance learning will still remain an option for parents and students,” he said Wednesday. “There’s a lot of trepidation, we recognize that a lot of anxiety, about going back into the classroom, which one has to clearly acknowledge. Not just for our teachers but also for our parents, particularly with kids who may have unique conditions.”

The plan is posed for “immediate action” in January.

Despite all efforts, the timing is undeniably tricky.

The county in which the school is in will need to meet a seven-day average case rate of fewer than 28 cases per 100,000 people per day. While this requirement is far greater than previous requirements to reopen without a waiver, that rate may be difficult to attain amidst the state’s largest surge yet.

“Offering as many California students in-person instruction as safely and as quickly as possible must be a team effort,” said California State PTA President Celia Jaffe in a Wednesday statement. “All of us agree that, even during a global pandemic, learning is non-negotiable, and students learn best when they can be safely receiving instruction in school.”

Many of California’s schools, especially in regions hit the hardest by the pandemic, have remained shuttered since March, placing significant strain on families statewide.

“It’s just so much more difficult for a 4-year-old to focus on a device than a 14-year-old,” Newsom said during the news conference, mentioning that he is a father of four young children.

And many parents, including state officials themselves, have not been particularly fond of the Zoom classroom setting, with some even taking to the streets to protest distance learning in California.

Newsom, among many other well-to-do Californians, has received backlash for sending his own children back to a private in-person school while encouraging families to stay at home.

Wednesday’s plan also marks the first time the governor has rolled out a sure-footed pathway for reopening schools statewide.

Some advocates of the plan said Wednesday that families of color, who are among those hit the hardest during the pandemic, will benefit from the reopening the most.

“The pandemic and remote learning are delivering a double dose of harm to California public education,”Public Advocates Managing Attorney John Affeld wrote in a statement Wednesday.

“Black and Brown students especially are falling further behind academically and socio-emotionally and the school system as a whole is losing credibility with the public, despite heroic efforts,” he said. “The solution to both problems is getting students back on campus safely, in person with their teachers and their peers.”

The framework was also announced during a time where teachers and those apart of the California Federation of Teachers have expressed concern over rushing the reopening of schools.

“We cannot support our schools being reopened in a manner that is unsafe for students, teachers, staff, or their families,” Jeffrey Freitas, President of the California Federation of Teachers wrote to the state on Dec. 16. “The teachers and classified professionals of CFT ask that science and community safety, not political pressure, be the guiding force in any discussion about reopening our schools to in-person instruction.”

The letter was in response to Democratic legislators who unveiled a plan this month that could force school districts to reopen when counties fall back into the red tier.

Despite the governor’s ambitious timeline, it remains to be seen how counties, especially in hard hit regions such as Southern California and San Joaquin Valley, will be able to return to in-person instruction.

Recently, the Los Angeles Unified School District recently canceled all in-person classes on campuses in response to the current surge in cases.

LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner, along with superintendents from Long Beach, San Diego, Fresno, Oakland, Sacramento, and San Francisco, sent a letter to the governor last month calling for a coordinated statewide plan for returning students to the classroom.

Those superintendents issued a joint statement Wednesday that they will be reviewing Newsom’s proposal “to make sure the guidelines address the needs of students and families served by large, urban school districts across the state.”

Debra Duardo, Los Angeles County’s superintendent of schools, praised the governor for providing guidance for the plan and said she would be “engaging our 80 district superintendents in conversations” in January and would work in conjunction with county health officials to discuss a path forward.

“Furthermore, I continue to urge the state to prioritize the vaccination of K-12 and early education teachers, administrators and staff as an essential step in getting our public schools and early learning and care centers fully reopened,” Duardo said. “Right now, L.A. County is facing a horrific surge of COVID cases. The absolute best thing we all can do to reopen our schools is to strictly follow public health guidelines. Please help by avoiding gatherings, staying at home as much as possible, wearing your masks and maintaining a six-foot distance from others when you do need to leave home.”

Assemblywoman Suzette Martinez Valladares, R-Santa Clarita, said Newsom’s announcement was long overdue.

“We cannot continue to fail our future, our kids,” she wrote in a Twitter post. “Europe has kept in-person learning open for the majority of the pandemic. Which now provides us with evidence that schools are not major spreading centers. The social and emotional development during the foundational years of preschool to second grade cannot be replicated through distance learning. Returning young students to schools is vital and long overdue. Most states had plans in place months ago.”

Currently, most of the Golden State’s counties remain under the purple tier with four of the state’s five designated regions under Newsom’s Regional Stay-At-Home order, which was just extended for Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley.

And Newsom further announced Wednesday that a staggering 432 coronavirus related deaths had been reported in the last 24 hours, boosting the seven-day average to 239 deaths. California recorded 30,921 cases on Tuesday with a 36,295 seven-day average.

Hospitalizations have also increased 36.5 percent in the last 14 days, Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s health secretary announced Tuesday.

“Much of what we’re seeing can be stopped if we make collective decisions to stop it,” Ghaly said in a news conference Tuesday. “We are in this moment where it can really make a difference…”

The City News Service contributed to this report.

Reference: https://patch.com/california/across-ca/ca-school-reopening-plans-gov-lays-out-person-framework

A more contagious version of the coronavirus may alter the course of the pandemic in the United States, researchers said.

One confirmed case and one suspected case of the new variant were found in two National Guard members assigned to the Good Samaritan Society, a nursing home in Simla, Colo.

A contagious variant of the coronavirus spreading through Britain has left that nation grappling with new lockdowns, curtailed air travel and a surge in infections. Now it has appeared in Colorado and California, threatening to complicate what had seemed a hopeful, if halting, path to recovery from the pandemic.

Scientists do not know how widely the new mutant may have spread in the United States. But the answer to that question will color virtually every aspect of the response: hospital treatment, community lockdowns, school closures and more.

“The overall picture is pretty grim,” said Bill Hanage, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The variant’s arrival also makes it all the more imperative that Americans receive vaccinations in great numbers, and more quickly, scientists said. A pathogen that spreads easily is more difficult to contain, and a greater percentage of the population must be inoculated to turn back the pandemic.

Yet even as the variant surfaced, officials with the Trump administration acknowledged on Wednesday that the vaccine rollout was going too slowly. Just 2.6 million people had received their first dose as of Monday morning, far short of the 20 million goal.

“We agree that that number is lower than what we hoped for,” said Moncef Slaoui, scientific adviser to Operation Warp Speed, the federal effort to accelerate vaccine development and distribution.

The federal government has enrolled 40,000 pharmacy locations in that program designed to accelerate vaccine distribution, Mr. Slaoui and other officials said.

The variant, called B.1.1.7, is not thought to be more deadly than other versions of the virus, nor does it seem to cause more severe illness. Masks, physical distancing and hand hygiene are still the best ways to contain its spread. Current vaccines are likely to be effective against it and any others that may emerge in the short term.

But given the mutant’s apparent contagiousness, scientists fear that its toehold in the United States augurs another difficult chapter in the pandemic. Gov. Gavin Newsom of California announced on Wednesday that a case of the variant had been discovered in the state.

Officials in San Diego County later identified the patient as a man in his 30s who had not traveled outside the United States, suggesting the virus was transmitted by someone else in the community — a sign that the new version is already spreading. A household contact of the man has developed symptoms, the officials said, and is being tested.

Officials in Colorado confirmed one patient and identified a second suspected case, both men in the National Guard assigned to a nursing home in Simla, Colo., about 80 miles southeast of Denver. The confirmed patient also had not traveled.

“There’s no reason to think that that community is particularly special in any way,” Dr. Hanage said. “It’s completely reasonable to think it’s in a lot of other places, but we just haven’t looked for it yet.”

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday that they were working with state laboratories in California, Delaware and Maryland to analyze patient samples for infection. Agency scientists also plan to analyze up to 3,500 viral genomes each week to detect the new mutant and others as they emerge.

The virus’s debut in the United States underscores the need for urgent steps to tamp down transmission, experts said. If the variant is spreading in this country, it will bring not just an increase in the number of cases, but also of hospitalizations and deaths.

That’s because a variant that infects more people will reach more who are vulnerable or frail, leading to more illness and fatalities even if the virus itself is not more deadly.

The number of people hospitalized for Covid-19 daily has been rising relentlessly since October, totaling nearly 125,000 on Wednesday. Those numbers are expected to swell as a result of family gatherings over the holidays.

“In places like the U.S. and the U.K., where the health care system is already at its breaking point, a huge surge of new cases on top of the exponential spread we’re already seeing is going to be really, really bad,” said Angela Rasmussen, a virologist affiliated with Georgetown University in Washington.

“Not only is that going to potentially increase the number of Covid deaths, but it’s also probably going to increase the number of deaths from other causes as well.”

People infected with the variant may need different care than earlier coronavirus patients, further burdening the health care system, experts said.

“We’re still learning how these variants might respond to drugs and other Covid-19 treatments, including monoclonal antibodies and convalescent plasma,” Dr. Henry Walke, the C.D.C.’s incident manager for Covid response, said at the news briefing.

The news ramps up the urgency to get Americans vaccinated because it raises the threshold for so-called herd immunity — the percentage of people who must be inoculated to contain the threat. That threshold may be 90 percent now, versus the 70 percent experts previously estimated.

At least two million Americans must be vaccinated each week to prevent the health care system from buckling even under the current surge, experts estimate, let alone an increase brought on by the new variant.

The mutant virus seems to spread in the same ways that the coronavirus always has, suggesting that well-known precautions — shutting down nonessential businesses and instituting mask mandates and physical distancing — will hold the virus at bay.

“It’s not like this variant suddenly has new capabilities, or that it can suddenly cross over large distances outdoors,” Dr. Rasmussen said.

But the ease with which the new version spreads implies that even more stringent restrictions may be needed, scientists said. “This variant was not stopped by the stronger interventions that were put in place in the U.K. in November,” Dr. Hanage said. “And that means that we need more.”

That is likely to prove difficult at a time when many Americans are already defying restrictions.

On Wednesday, about a quarter of the shoppers going into the Simla Food Store in Colorado left their faces uncovered, only half a block from the nursing home where the mutant virus is believed to have surfaced.

“They chew us out because they don’t think all this is real,” said Cené Kurtchi, 71, who runs a cafe in town and requires patrons to wear masks. “I think part of it is politics, part of it is denial. People don’t want to admit even a little place like Simla is at risk.”

British authorities first detected the mutant virus in September. They reported earlier this month that the variant quickly became predominant, accounting for more than 60 percent of new cases in London and surrounding areas.

“I would expect a similar trajectory” in the United States, said Trevor Bedford, an evolutionary biologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. The variant probably accounts for fewer than 1 percent of cases now, he estimated, but might constitute the majority of cases by March.

The variant has 23 mutations, compared with the original virus discovered in Wuhan, China. Seventeen mutations appeared since the virus diverged from its most recent ancestor, said Muge Cevik, an infectious disease expert at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and a scientific adviser to the British government.

The speed with which the virus acquired so many alterations worries scientists, who had expected the coronavirus to evolve far more slowly.

Current vaccine candidates should continue to protect people from illness, several experts said. But the appearance of the new variant, which contains at least one mutation that weakens the body’s immune protection, makes it likely that vaccines may need regular adjustment, much as they do to remain effective against the influenza virus.

Scientists are still unsure how much more easily the mutant spreads. Initial estimates were around 70 percent greater transmissibility, but the figure has since been revised to 56 percent and may dip even lower, Dr. Cevik said.

But with every new person it infects, the coronavirus also has more chances to mutate, and therefore more chances to happen upon mutations that give it an advantage — by making it more transmissible, for example, or less susceptible to the immune system.

“If you have enough of that going on, huge amounts of virus replication throughout the world, then you are going to get many different variants,” said Dr. Dan Barouch, a virologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

“If a virus essentially is better adapted to the human host, then it will quite rapidly overtake the global population.”

Dr. Cevik offered one nugget of optimism. Early reports from Britain hinted that the new variant spreads more readily among young children. But those suggestions were based on trends in older teenagers, who respond to the virus much as adults do, and can be explained by clusters in high schools, Dr. Cevik said.

“It was really early speculation and caused a lot of distress,” she said. “There is no evidence to suggest this new variant was more common in certain age groups.”

Reference: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/30/health/coronavirus-mutant-colorado.html

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Children are more at risk of contracting the coronavirus at a social gathering than in a classroom or childcare setting, according to a study released by the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

The study, conducted in partnership with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was featured in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Dec. 18 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Researchers surveyed patients younger than 18 who had tested positive for the virus in emergency departments and outpatient health facilities during September, October and November.


The study found that compared with children who tested negative, those who tested positive were more likely to have attended gatherings and have had visitors at home. Additionally, parents or guardians of children who were infected were less likely to report wearing masks at those gatherings.

“Household contacts versus a contact at school appeared to be more important in a child’s risk for being infected,” said Dr. Charlotte Hobbs, professor of pediatric infectious diseases at UMMC and lead author on the study’s findings. Co-authors include experts from the University of Mississippi School of Nursing and the Mississippi State Department of Health.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers, who contributed to the research study, said the report highlights what health professionals have seen “played out time and time again” during the pandemic.

“It is imperative that we arm parents and families with the information needed to prevent infection in themselves and their children,” Byers said.

The study also said that the “lack of consistent mask use” in schools led to some spread of the virus.

Hobbs said protecting children from becoming infected with coronavirus is essential to keeping the state’s schools and daycares open.

“We all know the vital nature of school for our children developmentally, academically and socially,” she said.

The state Health Department reported Monday that Mississippi had 1,701 new confirmed cases of the highly contagious virus as of Sunday evening. The department also reported 28 new deaths, saying that 25 of them occurred between Nov. 12 and Dec. 20 and information was obtained later from death certificates. The state has reported 208,089 cases of the virus and 4,634 deaths from it since the start of the pandemic.

Planning information and resources for upcoming COVID vaccines

A COVID-19 vaccine has the potential to alter the future course of this once-in-one hundred years pandemic and get Alameda County’s local economy and our communities back to some level of normalcy while increasing our safety. There is still a lot we do not know, but we are hopeful that we are heading in the right direction.

This is only the beginning and we must all continue to do our part to stay safe while we wait for the vaccine to be widely available. Stay home as much as possible. If you must leave, continue to wear a face covering and keep at least 6 feet of distance from anyone you don’t live with. Wash your hands frequently and avoid gathering with other households.

Find information about the COVID-19 vaccineslocal planning, and state and federal planning and resources.

For general inquiries: covax@acgov.org; For media inquiries: eoc-pio@acgov.org

General Vaccine FAQ (ACPHD, 12/21/20)

Alameda County COVID-19 Vaccine Values and Principles

  • Provide transparent and accurate information to help residents make vaccine decisions
  • Lead with equity and data
  • Ensure safe and equitable distribution
  • Leverage all venues and partners for broad distribution

A COVID-19 vaccine could:

  • Reduce number of people with COVID-19
  • Reduce severity of illness
  • Reduce hospitalizations
  • Reduce deaths

Federal agencies will decide:

  • Which vaccines are approved for use in United States (FDA)
  • How much vaccine will be allocated to each state (CDC)
  • Overall framework for who gets vaccine at each phase of the rollout (CDC)
  • Ongoing research, monitoring, and oversight (NIH, FDA, CDC)

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) will decide:

  • Which vaccine(s) will be used in CA
  • How much vaccine will be allocated to each local health jurisdiction/county
  • State-specific framework for who will get vaccine when (per federal guidelines)
  • Which data systems will be used across the state to monitor vaccine distribution and uptake
  • Ongoing data collection, monitoring and oversight

Alameda County Health Care Services Agency will:

  • Coordinate local infrastructure for vaccine storage, distribution, & administration
  • Promote equitable distribution across local communities
  • Develop County-specific framework for who gets vaccine when (per state guidelines)
  • Conduct ongoing data reporting and monitoring

Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs)

Local Planning

Per State and Federal policy, COVID-19 vaccine will be administered to specific populations in phases and community sites would be in the last phase. Local planning will leverage lessons learned from flu clinics, which were modified to accommodate COVID-19 considerations, data on need, and community feedback, as well as our 2009 experience with H1N1.

This is a rapidly evolving situation and we are following closely the work of California’s vaccine planning task force, which is determining many of the policies and procedures for which vaccine gets distributed when, how, and to whom. The State’s decisions will be implemented through our local plans.

  • Continue planning with health care providers
  • Regional planning with Bay Area Health Officials & Berkeley Health Dept
  • Purchase freezers and dry ice to support cold chain management
  • Develop communication strategy and informational materials

Vaccine Community Advisory Group

Residents and representatives from a variety of organizations across Alameda County have been invited to support safe, equitable vaccine distribution. While the State’s framework prioritizes vaccination for different groups of people over four phases, Alameda County has some local control over how those priorities are put into practice. We are seeking input on: vaccine prioritization, how to build more trust, effective messaging and managing misinformation.

All meetings will be held via Zoom webinar and via Facebook Live and open to the public as listen-only attendees, with opportunity for public comment & written Q&A. 

Meeting #1 (December 21, 2020)

Meeting #2: Tuesday, January 12th, 2021 5-6:30pm
Zoom Link:  https://zoom.us/j/95182370779

  • Kimi Watkins-Tartt, Alameda County Public Health Director
  • Nestor Castillo, Public Health Commission/University Lecturer
  • Greg Hodge, KHEPERA Consulting/Brotherhood of Elders Network
  • Coordination with health care providers and clinics
  • Coordination with internal logistics and distribution functions
  • Town halls
  • Partnership with cities, community groups, and cross-sector collaborative tables

Educators and medical professionals are making tough choices when planning for the school year. While some schools are implementing virtual learning classes, others are reopening classrooms for in-person instructions, and some schools are combining both methods. For pediatricians caring for children, we follow the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines for schools choosing to reopen and support the education system in providing children with more opportunities to grow and learn throughout the year.

But as a parent, making a choice each day to send your child to school can present a lot of risks because not only can your child potentially catch COVID-19, but spread it to family members and others throughout the community. As pediatricians, it’s our goal to help guide parents during this time and provide them with the tools needed to keep children safe.

Why More Schools Are Choosing In-Person Schooling

Schools that have chosen to reopen their doors for children had to consider multiple factors while dealing with the pandemic. One of the main reasons for reopening during this time is related to how a community handles the pandemic, as each community leader has to make sure that their areas have wide control over the spread of COVID-19. In safe enough environments, schools can reopen as long as they follow strict guidelines on social distancing, wearing masks, sanitization methods, massive accommodations for children with disabilities, poverty, medically fragile, and other developmental challenges that require more specific approaches to education.

Schools that choose to reopen have one of the essential reasons behind them – in-person schooling fosters the most growth and development. For children, developing their social and emotional skills along with their academics, and these schools accommodate those needs through the following:

    • Social Distancing

    • Masks

    • Hand Hygiene

    • Temperature Checks

    • Cleaning and Disinfecting

    • Nutrition

How to Protect Children During COVID-19

One of the most proactive methods to protect your child from the virus is to follow the CDC guidelines on social distancing, mask-wearing, and sanitization. But more importantly, keeping up with these guidelines while your child is at school remains even more essential. Maintaining a healthy environment at home can help slow the spread, and when your child goes to school each day, remember to follow these steps:

Avoid Touching the Eyes, Nose, and Mouth – By teaching them these habits and reminding them of it at home, any surfaces they touch can be prevented until they wash their hands.

Practice Mask Wearing at Home – Wearing masks at home and teaching them breathing exercises can help calm them and inform them about why wearing masks are necessary during this time. Reinforce mask-wearing before they go to school to help them adjust to this temporary reality.

Keep Them Home If Sick – While school education is important if your child begins to show symptoms of COVID-19, then keeping them at home can help slow the spread. If you have any more concerns about handling your child’s sickness, contact your pediatrician for more advice.

For any concerns you may have about COVID-19 and your children, Dr. Veena Puri at Puri Pediatric Medical Group in Fremont, CA, can provide the insight you need to keep your child safe.

This year, influenza and COVID-19 circulate within the same season, making it just as important to get the flu shot. While getting the flu shot won’t prevent COVID-19, it might help reduce you and your child’s risk of developing COVID-19 and help pediatricians and medical staff protect children and their families against the pandemic. These two illnesses present a double threat this year. While both respiratory illnesses, it’s essential that you know the differences between these two illnesses and why it’s safe to get the flu vaccination during the pandemic.

Is it Influenza or COVID-19?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, all children six months and older should get the flu shot each year; both of these illnesses are present during the winter months and have similar symptoms. Both can cause no symptoms to occur and cause an illness with mild to severe symptoms—however, the time period when these illnesses appear to differ. For influenza, symptoms can show up one to four days after being infected, while COVID-19 can show up between 2 to 14 days after infection, with the most common signs showing up around five days.

Common Symptoms for Both Influenza and COVID-19 include:

    • Fevers/Chills

    • Extreme Tiredness

    • Shortness of Breath

    • Difficulty Breathing

    • Muscle and Body Aches

    • Stuffy, runny noses

    • Vomiting

    • Diarrhea

    • Headaches

The only symptom present with COVID-19 currently diagnose is a person’s loss of taste and smell and that their stuffy nose and throat feel dry.

How Do Symptoms Appear in Children?

Children will often experience the same symptoms with influenza as adults would, making it all the more important for children to get their flu vaccine, and the best place for getting the influenza vaccine is at your pediatrician’s office. Experts aren’t aware of how the two viruses interact with the body, and the intermixing of these two viruses can present life-threatening complications, posing higher risks to both children and adults.

Know It’s Safe To Get The Vaccine

Getting the influenza vaccine is safe, as long as clinics, pharmacies, and hospitals place safety measures for people wanting the vaccine. Visitor restrictions, symptom screenings, social distancing, and masks are the best measures we have for families. Getting the influenza vaccine is the best way to support our medical professionals out in the field helping those with severe COVID-19 symptoms and can help these professionals recognize COVID-19 from influenza by looking at the person’s medical history and discounting influenza as a cause for their illness.

They need to get the vaccine for children as it helps protect them from potentially compounding influenza with COVID-19. Children with the vaccine can help prevent the hospitals from further overflowing with patients infecting the COVID virus and help doctors care for those suffering from this pandemic. With a high chance of reducing the risk of getting COVID-19, the influenza vaccine gives both medical professionals and families the means to keep people safe during winter.

For more information about the influenza vaccine and what we’re doing to protect patients during COVID-19, contact Puri Pediatric Medical Group, operated by Dr. Veena Puri in Fremont, CA, for a vaccination appointment.

As the holidays approach, we send our best wishes to you and your family for a safe, healthy season. We know that it has been a long and difficult year for many. We all badly want to spend time with friends and families.

There is exciting news that highly effective, safe vaccines and improved treatments are on the horizon. But with the COVID-19 virus spreading fast in the Bay Area and beyond, it’s more important than ever to guard against infection now. 

It is tragic that so many people around the world are still suffering, and in many cases dying, just as we see a light at the end of the tunnel. Help is on the way — if we can just keep taking the safest steps a little longer.

Here are our recommendations for staying healthy until the global pandemic is well-controlled:Stay close to home. We urge you to skip travel except for truly essential reasons.
If you must travel, get tested 3 to 6 days after returning home. Also, isolate yourself from others for 14 days after your return, even if your test is negative.Wear masks when you are with other people who are not in your household bubble. Also wear masks whenever you are in a public space or building.Limit gatherings. Don’t have meals or celebrations with people outside of your household bubble.
If you must meet with people who are not part of your household, you can lower the risks with these steps: Limit the time you are exposed to others.Stay in highly ventilated areas, preferably outdoors.Keep 6 feet away from others, especially while eating or drinking.Wash your hands often.Make a special effort to stay away from others if you don’t feel well. That’s true even if you have only mild symptoms of COVID-19.
Symptoms include congestion, cough, muscle ache, feeling tired or short of breath, headache, loss of taste or smell, or a fever.Stay away from other people with any COVID-19 symptoms.Don’t delay seeking preventive care or treatment with your care team.Get tested if you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or have even mild symptoms of COVID-19. For information on testing, see Stanford Health Care’s website.We have a wonderful opportunity this holiday season to share the gift of safety and health. You can take special care to prevent new infections through the holidays.

With that, we can look forward to a much more normal world next spring and summer. Then we can plan to join with all of our friends and families for a very joyous holiday season next year.

Sincerely, Your Stanford Health Care Team

Source: Standford Healthcare

The conversation about the dangers of plastic has been ongoing, especially in a world where sea life washes up on shore trapped in human detritus. While many of us have taken steps to consider the impact of what we’re putting in the garbage and landfills and have taken steps to reduce the amount of plastic that goes out, we may be missing something closer to home. Plastics are a common ingredient in baby bottles, often preferred over glass for their light-weight design and nearly indestructible nature. Unfortunately, that safety and convenience may be coming at a hidden cost.

Are Plastic Baby Bottles Safe?

This may sound like an uncomplicated question, but it’s been revealed to be more complex than a straight yes or no. While plastic bottles are generally safe to use for feeding your baby, there are certain precautions that are necessary to ensure they’re safe. To understand the dangers involved, it’s necessary to familiarize yourself with the concept of microplastics.

What Are Microplastics?

Microplastics, as the name implies, are flecks of plastic that are usually too small to be seen with the naked eye. They’re found everywhere in the world these days, most abundantly in the ocean as the result of plastic garbage. This garbage is broken down by ocean waves and sand to become microplastics, which find their way into fish, onto beaches, and into everything the ocean contains. Research has recently shown that heating formula in a baby bottle causes the bottle to release countless microplastics, which are then consumed by your child.

Are Microplastics Dangerous?

Unfortunately, there’s no real way to know yet. The results of various studies have revealed that babies all over the world may be consuming as much as 1.5 million microplastic particles every day. There’s nothing in the available research that tells us that we need to worry about this yet. Unfortunately, the research is so new that the effects of this abundance of microplastic in the infant diet have yet to be determined. Concerned parents would be advised to heat their baby’s formula outside of the plastic bottle and then pour it into it for feeding. This may be less convenient than popping it in the microwave, but the potential health risks to your baby make the inconvenience worthwhile. As research continues, we’re going to learn more about microplastics and the effect they have on our health and those of the ones we love.

If you have questions or concerns about this or other things that affect your child’s health, reach out to Puri Pediatric Group in Fremont, CA today! Our team of pediatric specialists provides exceptional health care services to our patients and their families throughout the Fremont area. Call today to arrange your next appointment and find out what it means to be part of the Puri Pediatric Group’s family of patients. We’re excited to welcome you to our practice and becoming your home for pediatric care for years to come. Call us today to get started!