January 19, 2022
Q: In addition to being a physician, you're also a parent. How nervous should parents be about the Omicron variant of COVID-19?
A: I’m the mom of a 10-year-old. I sent him to school because I know that’s the best place for him to be. But I also knew that, given how contagious this variant is, it was likely that he would get it. As a mom, sending him to school made me nervous. But as a pediatrician, I remind myself that we’re fortunate that the Omicron variant seems to be a lot milder than what we saw earlier in the year with the Delta variant. So, while we are still seeing some kids get sick and end up in the hospital, they seem not to be as sick as we saw earlier in the pandemic, especially kids who are vaccinated. My son did catch the virus, but he is vaccinated, so he was cranky for a few days and then got back to normal.
COVID-19 is unpredictable. We can't always tell which kid is going to get seriously ill. We know that people with other medical conditions are at higher risk, but we also know that occasionally, perfectly healthy kids get very sick.
The thing for parents to keep in mind is that you know your child. Bring them to the doctor or emergency department if they:
Most kids will recover fine if you make sure they get plenty of fluids, use a humidifier to make it easier for them to breathe, and give them Tylenol or Motrin if they have a fever.