COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–If you’re a parent and your kids are sniffling and sneezing, fighting those summer colds, doctors say that could coincide with the easing of pandemic health orders.
“We went from almost no ill calls to more than we can handle some days,” says Dr. Derek McClellan, a pediatrician with Central Ohio Primary Care.
For 15-months, everyone wore masks that protected them from COVID-19 and other illnesses like the flu.
With kids not having been exposed to many of these things for such a long time, pediatricians say the return to a more normal life also means the return of more common sickness.
“For whatever you believe about masks, they certainly cut down on childhood illness,” Dr. McClellan said.
Over the past four to six weeks, Dr. McClellan’s group has seen a growing number of parents bring in children with common summertime illnesses like stomach viruses, fevers, and rashes.
“It’s not the illnesses are any scarier because they haven’t been exposed to them, it’s just going to be a little bit of a shock to them to see it,” admits Dr. McClellan.
“I’m a teacher and I’ve lived with the challenges of masks on my own kids, and my students and myself for this year, and it’s been challenging,” said Jen Wuersig, a mother of two.
Wuersig said attendance at school over the past year was the highest she’s ever seen.
“Now that the masks are coming off, I do have some concerns about those germs creeping back in,” said Wuersig, who has worries outside the classroom. “We also have an immune-compromised child at home. So, we have a little bit of hesitation in that regard also.”
Child healthcare experts that it’s less about being worried or concerned and more about being mindful.
“We think about all the times that we’ve sent our kids to school with a little mild illness and thought nothing of it,” Dr. McClellan warns.
With summer lending itself to warmer weather, experts encourage safe outdoor activities with their children this summer.
“It’s mindful of the indoor things. The sleepovers having 10 kids in the living room watching a movie,” said Dr. McClellan.
“I think we’ll just continue to have our kids be diligent about washing their hands and using good hygiene,” Wuersig added.
Dr. McClellan said he anticipates the mini-wave of childhood sickness to ease relatively soon.
However, he says parents need to be cautious when school starts back up, and to be aware when they start to notice any symptoms of illness, and be sure to keep kids home.