For parents like Latoya Facey, it’s a stressful time. As many students return to the classroom, they’re concerned about what exposure to more people may bring. Facey’s son, Kayden Ramirez, gets his flu shot every year, and this year will be no different.
“Definitely important. Top of the list priority,” said Facey.
At PM Pediatrics Urgent Care in West Hartford, they’ve seen patients with a very low positivity rate of COVID-19. And while it’s unknown what the coming months will bring, Medical Director and Pediatrician Dr. Kari Edelson said it’s more important than ever that kids get the flu shot.
“We don’t think it’s too early. Is there a chance that it could wane off a little bit by spring? Yes. But hopefully, we’ll be past the peak of flu and COVID-19 by that point. So we want it to be in your system at the highest level when we’re going to see the most amount of cases of both those viruses,” said Edelson.
The CDC says symptoms for COVID-19 and the flu can be very similar, including fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, sore throat, and body aches.
“We’re going to have two major viruses going around the same time, and there’s nothing to say you can’t get them simultaneously which increases your risks of being seriously ill,” said Edelson.
In addition, Edelson recommends keeping kids who have symptoms home until they are fever-free for 24 hours without medication, or if they’ve been tested, to stay home while that test is pending.
Edelson said there could be a benefit to all the extra precautions taken this flu season.
“I definitely think there's a chance that with the extra precautions, wearing the mask, extra hygiene, hand washing, safety precautions at school, that there may be a lower percentage rate of flu cases this season than normal, but we just don't know what to expect at this point,” said Edelson.
While it’s a nerve-wracking time for parents and students, Facey says she knows everyone is doing what they can to stop the spread.
“I have faith in his teachers and the school system and the state of Connecticut, so I think we’ll be okay,” said Facey.