DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. — Health experts worried about a "twindemic" that could affect children issued a reminder that kids are vulnerable because they're currently ineligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Dr. Jessica Ericson, a pediatric infectious disease physician for Penn State Health's Children's Hospital, says the two prevalent virus health professionals are seeing is para Influenza and RSV or respiratory syncytial virus.
Ericson says the two can make it very difficult for the child to breathe and can lead to trips to the hospital.
Without a COVID-19 test, she says, it's difficult to tell what illness the child has.
"We have seen definitely children who have both and it's really impossible to tell, you can't make a guess, really you have to have a test in order to tell whether the child has COVID or whether they have one of these other viruses," said Ericson.
With an increased volume of patients in hospitals and doctor's offices, parents may wonder when it's best to treat their children at home or take them to the doctor. Ericson says it's when symptoms truly progress negatively.
"Persistent fever that lasts for several days, coughing that is keeping them up at night giving them difficulty breathing, any faster rapid breathing especially for small kids if they're not eating or drinking very much and you're worried they might get dehydrated."
Ericson also adds parents don't need to overdo it when testing their children.
"If they've had a negative test, then it really depends on how their symptoms progress," she said, "If they just get better, then they wouldn't need a test again, but if their symptoms get worse, then it might be worth testing that child again in several days to a week or so."
Though children do not have vaccine eligibility with proper care, Ericson says there is a greater chance they will get better if have contracted COVID-19. She says kids will likely get better in a couple of days, in hopes, there are no other illnesses.