COLORADO SPRINGS — Flu season is almost here and symptoms for several illnesses in children can overlap, especially with COVID-19.
“Symptoms can range anywhere from no symptoms at all, to a mild cold. So, a runny nose, cough, sometimes fever, so every much overlapping with what you would expect with the flu as well,” said Sara Saporta-Keating, MD, an epidemiologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado, Colorado Springs.
Children’s Hospital Colorado, Colorado Springs wants to remind parents of the importance of getting a flu shot now.
“We know that COVID can send people to the hospital, we know that flu can send people to the hospital. So, I think that right now, what we don’t want to do, is have to see patients who both have flu and COVID, because we’re concerned that will put them at greater risk for more severe complications,” Saporta-Keating said.
According to the hospital, for kids over a month old, talk to your pediatrician about the symptoms your child has and they will recommend either an in-office visit or a trip to the emergency department.
For babies less a month old with a fever, Children’s Colorado recommends an emergency department visit, as they’re at risk for more significant illnesses.
“Even healthy younger kids can have up to six or more viral illnesses in a year. And it seems like a lot, especially in the first few years of life, but that’s something that we expect as pediatricians. As kids get older, they get fewer viral illnesses and fewer fever viral illnesses. But in those first few years of life, it can be challenging and scary for parents, but we do expect that to happen,” Saporta-Keating said.
Children’s Colorado says getting a flu shot will help save resources for those who need to come into the hospital with COVID-19 symptoms, and will also protect those who are too young to get a flu shot or aren’t able to.
“In general, we think of flu symptoms as being really bad body aches, fevers, sometimes you can get some GI symptoms, so vomiting or abdominal pain, some cough, but again, if you get the flu shot, some of those symptoms are less,” Saporta-Keating said.
Click here for a complete guide on breaking down COVID-19 symptoms and other illnesses.