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COVID-19 and flu season could cause ‘twindemia’ this winter, experts warn

Experts warn we could see what they call a “twinemia” of COVID-19 and influenza this winter.

Millions of children get sick flu every year and tens of thousands are hospitalized with respiratory syncytial virus or RSV. Research presented at an American Academy of Pediatrics conference shows pandemic precautions, like wearing masks and social distancing, have helped stop the spread of influenza and other common respiratory viruses last season.

“While each of these things isn’t perfect, taken together they are really effective in preventing disease,” said Dr. William Schaffner, infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The study was conducted at Akron Children’s Hospital in Ohio from October 2020 to April 2021, when pandemic measures were in place. The researchers found only two cases of the flu and no cases of RSV. When restrictions eased in mid-March, viral infections returned.

“We weren’t really expecting to see winter respiratory viruses spread in the summer. It just shows you that these viruses, which are really very contagious, will take advantage of us as we open up, rally, take off our masks,” he said. said Dr Schaffner.

The CDC recommends that all people 6 months of age and older get a flu shot, with rare exceptions.

CBS Miami reports that the Noecker family take every precaution every winter because Alexander, 3, was born prematurely.

“The doctors were very clear: he needed to be protected because if he caught RSV or the flu, there was a good chance that he would end up being hospitalized,” said Rebecca Noecker.

And the COVID-19 pandemic has brought new concerns.

“We follow all public health advice. We wear masks everywhere we go,” Noecker said. “We wash our hands when we get home and, you know, we usually make sure we eat well and sleep well.”

Members of the Noecker family also still get the flu shot, and they hope those habits will keep them healthy this winter.