SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Mother of two small children, Sara Hanau says any time she has seen her kids sniffle, her COVID-19 concerns increase.
“My kids have gotten seven COVID tests in the past three months just because every time they have some sort of sniffle or flu, you worry, and they go straight to the doctor, and they test them," said Hanau. "Luckily it has always been negative, but that just means there are 1 million other things that they are getting,”
5-year-old Max Hanau gets tested each week as a kindergartener at a San Diego Unified School.
The district reports a jump with nearly 800 more students absent-all day due to illness, compared to this time last month.
“I feel like that is our biggest hardship since we have two kids at home, one will get something, and then bring it home, and then bring it to the other one, and then inevitably, me and my husband get it," said Hanau. "Anytime I see a kid out there who’s got a runny nose, then I am like, oh gosh, there goes the next two weeks of my life,”
1-year-old Zoey Hanau has been sick with a viral infection that was difficult for doctors to identify.
“It wasn’t the flu, and it wasn’t COVID, and it wasn’t a urinary tract infection," said Hanau. "They just said that there is a lot of stuff that is going around right now, and she just happened to pick it up,”
Pediatricians are getting slammed with sick calls.
“'Hey Doc, my kid has a cough, a cold and runny nose,' these are calls that we get at least 10 to 15 times a day,” said Dr. Ahmad Bailony, chair of pediatrics at Sharp Chula Vista.
Dr. Bailony says winter is always their busiest season but with a high focus on COVID now, many parents forget about the host of other contagious illnesses.
“A lot of viruses from hand, foot and mouth disease, RSV, COVID, and the flu, for a lot of these, their common symptoms are respiratory,” said Dr. Bailony, who sees about 15-20 sick kids in the office a day.
What can a parent do in a peak winter sick season?
Dr. Bailony urges families to always keep sick kids at home.
“Unfortunately, there is a chance that with holiday gatherings, there will be more chance of spread," said Dr. Bailony. "We could see another month of continued kind viral illness,”
Hanau says as her kids continue to get tested, they will wear masks and stick to attending outdoor events.
“Fingers crossed we get through this holiday season without another gross bug hitting our family,” said Hanau.
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