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Area hospitals report a rise in young patients due to COVID and other viruses showing up earlier than usual

Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 2:41 PM CDT
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(KWTX) - With area children back in school, the spread of germs is increasing, and that concerns some Central Texas pediatric hospital staff members.

Medical professionals say they’re seeing an increase in the number of children not only with COVID-19, but also other viruses that seem to be arriving earlier than usual.

“This year has been more interesting,” Anna Dick, pediatric nurse practitioner at McLane Children’s Medical Center in Temple, said.

“We have been busy for the last few months with the rise in, not only COVID, but other viruses that we normally see in winter months are coming back now.”

Throughout most of this summer hospital visits by children have been more frequent.

There is now a heightened focus on teaching children and teenagers basic ways to mitigate germ spread.

Those include staying six feet away from others, wearing masks, covering coughs and washing hands for at least 20 seconds.

“Your teenagers, your middle schoolers, your high schoolers, they’re going to be able to understand a little bit easier,” Dick said.

“Your elementary school kids, your preschoolers, sometimes they have a harder time because you can’t see the germs on your hands.”

The COVID-19 Delta variant is also concerning because it is affecting kids more than other variants, she said.

And if the children are not affected, then they are more than likely to be spreading the virus without knowing it, mostly because they can be asymptomatic and bring the virus home from school.

“Just making sure that you’re talking about why it’s important to wash your hands even though your hands don’t look dirty, those germs can be hidden,” Dick said.

“And we want to get them off before we touch our friends, go to circle times and things like that.”

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