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LeBonheur not seeing typical rate of respiratory viruses in children compared to previous years

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 3:41 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The fall and winter are typically when flu season peaks. LeBonheur’s chief of pediatric infectious diseases, Dr. Sandra Arnold, says this has not been a typical year.

“There have been some cases diagnosed and I’ve heard from people out in general practice that they are seeing some cases,” Dr. Arnold said, “But it is certainly not a large amount.”

Dr. Arnold says the coronavirus and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) also have not been rampant right now, though things could quickly change.

“What’s happening right now doesn’t necessarily reflect what’s happening in a week or two,” said Dr. Arnold.

Dr. Arnold credits masking for preventing the spread of respiratory viruses, which previously saw a peak in the late summer months.

“During the delta surge, people started wearing their masks again. So, we just had less transmission of most of the viruses. We’re still seeing Rhinovirus, colds, which are spread more by contact than the aerosol route,” said Dr. Arnold.

During the holidays, as more cases of the omicron variant appear, she says it is important to still be careful.

Getting vaccinated is a must, and Dr. Arnold says it’s safe to get both the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine.

“You know you get a sore arm when you get the COVID vaccine, and you get a sore arm when you get flu [vaccine]. You may not be able to lift your arms up very high for a couple of days, but there’s really no reason not to get both,” said Dr. Arnold.

The Shelby County Health Department continues to administer vaccinations at sites in Memphis and Germantown.

Pharmacies are also administering COVID-19 and flu vaccinations to everyone five and older.

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