It’s fall, which suggests it’s time for respiratory viral diseases to begin circulating once more as a part of our “cough and chilly” season. This 12 months is not any exception – we’ve began seeing an uptick in optimistic assessments for COVID-19, flu (also called influenza) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), each nationally and domestically. With a number of diseases going round and up to date/new vaccines obtainable, there’s quite a bit for fogeys to know.
To assist dad and mom type all of it out, I’ve answered probably the most continuously requested questions we’ve been receiving about COVID-19, flu and RSV:
1. What’s the simplest factor dad and mom can do to guard their children from these critical diseases?
The simplest factor dad and mom can do, along with handwashing and avoiding sick folks, is to vaccinate their youngsters in opposition to these diseases. For the primary time ever, we’ve got vaccinations or different preventative remedies obtainable for all three. It’s fairly thrilling. It’s necessary to notice, nevertheless, that vaccinations don’t fully stop all children from getting contaminated and/or having signs; it prevents them from having extreme illness and doubtlessly being hospitalized.
2. Up to date COVID vaccines that extra carefully match the present strains have been not too long ago made obtainable — ought to I get my children one other one?
Sure! The up to date COVID-19 vaccines defend in opposition to the more moderen omicron variants, such because the XBB lineage, and the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention recommends that everybody aged 5 years and older get at the least one dose of this up to date Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to guard in opposition to critical sickness.
Folks (together with youngsters) who’re reasonably or severely immunocompromised might get further doses of the up to date COVID-19 vaccine. Youngsters aged six months to 4 years want a number of doses of the COVID-19 vaccines to be updated in the event that they haven’t been vaccinated earlier than, together with at the least one dose of the up to date COVID-19 vaccine.
3. Ought to we be pacing our COVID-19 vaccine schedule equally to the flu vaccine — yearly, round September/October?
Ideally, sure, it might be nice to get them each on the similar time of 12 months to make it simpler for households. Nonetheless, as a result of COVID-19 has been unpredictable, I can’t say that for sure. Proper now, it’s finest to observe what’s occurring within the information and take note of what the CDC is recommending — till (hopefully) COVID-19 turns into a bit extra predictable just like the flu.
4. Is it okay for my children to get the COVID-19 and flu vaccines on the similar time?
Sure! It’s protected to obtain the COVID and flu vaccines on the similar time. Primarily based on present knowledge, there isn’t a elevated security threat and no lower in immune response if they’re administered collectively.
5. Is that this 12 months’s flu vaccine a very good match for the present strains which can be circulating?
Influenza could cause extreme illness requiring hospitalization and dying in even wholesome youngsters, particularly these lower than 5 years previous. It’s wanting like this 12 months’s flu vaccine is a comparatively good match primarily based on the information from the flu season within the southern hemisphere. Do not forget that getting a flu vaccine can stop in opposition to critical sickness in case your youngster turns into contaminated with the flu.
6. Who ought to be getting the brand new RSV vaccine?
Wholesome infants lower than eight months of age ought to obtain nirsevimab, which was not too long ago accepted by the FDA. Whereas not technically a vaccine — it’s a monoclonal antibody — nirsevimab is getting used equally to how we consider preventive vaccines. It’s endorsed to get it round September, earlier than the RSV season, and safety ought to final about 5 months. Youngsters who’re severely immunocompromised or have extreme lung illness might obtain an extra dose of their second RSV season. We have now had different RSV antibodies obtainable earlier than; nevertheless, solely high-risk infants have been eligible. That is the primary time we’ve had an antibody obtainable for all infants beneath eight months of age; research present it reduces the danger of extreme sickness by 75%.
7. When is the RSV season?
The standard RSV season is just like the flu, with probably the most circumstances occurring within the winter and early spring. Influenza season begins within the fall and normally peaks within the winter. That mentioned, we noticed a excessive quantity of RSV and influenza circumstances within the low season, such because the summer time of 2021 and the autumn of 2022. Some indications counsel will probably be beginning early this fall as nicely.