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Originally Published by ScaryMommy.com

Headed into our third year since the COVID-19 pandemic began rocking our world, the country now has approved vaccines, protocols in place, and more normalcy in the classroom than we’ve seen since 2019. But, at least partially because of the pandemic, kids and their parents may be headed into a very rough winter when it comes to viruses. And it’s already started.

The irony? It’s not just COVID, but RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), influenza, rhinovirus and enterovirus that are filling up children’s hospitals across the country.

While an uptick in respiratory viruses is normal in fall as kids return to school and the weather cools, this year viruses are hitting harder and sooner than usual — and landing thousands of kids in the ER and in hospitals until many are at capacity.

“As pediatricians we are accustomed to an uptick in respiratory illnesses each year when school resumes in August and September. Shared germs in a classroom combined with fall seasonal allergies and changing weather impacts many kids’ respiratory status,” Shelly Flais, MD, a pediatrician in Naperville, Illinois, and author of the AAP’s Caring for your School Age Child, tells Scary Mommy.

“The year 2022 is unusual in that summer really didn’t slow down, and we’re seeing more respiratory viruses earlier than usual: specifically, RSV and influenza,“ Flais said of her own experiences in her clinic recently. “In many parts of the country, mask mandates were lifted last spring, and young children who had spent their whole lives sheltering in place now are experiencing challenges to their immune system.”

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