Your Health: Triple-demic threatens kids’ health over holidays

Taking steps to avoid a “triple-demic.”
Taking steps to avoid a “triple-demic.”
Published: Dec. 28, 2022 at 11:10 AM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Last year, health experts warned parents about the potential for a “twin-demic” as cases of COVID-19 and the flu rose during the winter months.

Now, as families prepare for more holiday time together, the threat of a “triple demic” remains.

From infants at daycare to preschoolers and grade school students, your kids are, once again, in close quarters all day with other kids.

“Remember, they’ve had two plus years where they haven’t had that ongoing exposure to this virus and that virus, so their immune systems are not on that same level of constant vigilance,” said Dr. Vandana Madhavan, a pediatric infectious disease expert.

All that togetherness of the holidays means kids may need added virus protection. For starters, the updated COVID boosters became available for kids ages five to 11 in mid-October.

“This booster not only continues to protect against the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, the virus that causes COVID-19 but has a specific component that helps protect against omicron,” said Dr. Madhavan.

Dr. Madhavan says parents should also make sure everyone in the family is vaccinated against the flu. She says kids can get their covid booster and flu shot at the same visit. And even if parents have waited until now, it’s still not too late.

“In many years, we see two different peaks of influenza,” adds Dr. Madhavan.

Finally, Dr. Madavan warns parents of children under the age of two to be aware of the symptoms of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. It causes cold-like symptoms but can lead to inflamed airways and pneumonia in babies.

Because there are no approved vaccines available for RSV, which spreads from touching an infected person, family members showing signs of a cold - like a runny nose or cough - should avoid contact with young babies.

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