What has been going on this fall? Our providers are seeing kids and parents getting one cold after another, hand-foot-mouth disease, diarrhea, RSV, strep — it’s already been super tough on families and we’re not even officially in flu season yet.
Why is this happening? It’s due at least in part to more relaxed mask-wearing compared to the last two years. During the height of COVID, when mask-wearing was mandatory, respiratory viruses weren’t entering noses, mouths and eyes, so we all stayed quite healthy. That’s the good news. The flip side is that young children in particular didn’t have a chance to train their immune systems and develop defenses against common viruses, and on a population level, we didn’t keep our immunity fine-tuned. Now, since most of us aren’t wearing masks every day, our kids (and we!) are being infected with microbes (mostly viruses) that we got a break from during the last two winters.
If what we’ve been seeing in the offices is any indication, this winter is going to be a doozy. Check out the articles from pediatrician Dr. Julia Getzelman to learn about supporting your and your kid’s immune systems. And don’t forget that “eating a rainbow,” establishing good sleep habits, keeping stress levels down, hydrating with plenty of water or herbal teas, and washing hands are common sense practices that really do keep us healthy and help ward off the expected influx of winter sickness.
Finally, many of us will be on planes this winter, so if you’re flying over the holidays, we strongly encourage families to wear well-fitting N95 (or equivalent) masks and frequently use a nasal spray like Xlear or Enovid. We are particularly excited about Enovid because of its promising data on prevention of respiratory infections including COVID (in human trials). High quality masks not only filter aerosols but also function to help keep our hands, which transmit germs, away from our faces. No one wants to spend their precious time off in bed or taking care of sick loved ones. And, unfortunately, emergency departments and urgent care centers country-wide are struggling to keep up with demand so you want to avoid needing those services now more than ever. Furthermore, a November 10, 2022 publication in Nature Medicine, which analyzed hundreds of thousands of COVID cases, urges us not to get repeated COVID infections because serious health risks to every organ system increase “without ambiguity” each time we’re infected!
About GetzWell Personalized Pediatrics
Our San Francisco pediatrician group is comprised of board certified pediatricians and expert pediatric nurse practitioners. At GetzWell we’re here for you when your child gets sick and we also offer personalized approaches for staying well.