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'Which virus? Now I want to know': Parents concern grows over summer viruses

Doctors say that this summer the normal viruses are out there making kids sick, but since COVID-19 more parents are learning about the types of viruses we’re seeing.
Credit: WHAS 11
Kids Summer Illnesses

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Colds are common in the summer. Yes that sentence may seem contradictory, but it’s true according to doctors at Norton Children’s Hospital.

Colds, Croup, Bronchitis, all of these are respiratory illnesses that stem from viruses that can be found floating around all year long. Dr. Kris Bryant from Norton Children’s says so far the number of cases of these illnesses are not out of the ordinary for this time of year. 

However, they’re getting more and more questions about the usual suspects.

“Let’s go back in time, four or five years ago. If your child had a runny nose and a cough and you took them to the pediatrician and they said, ‘Mmm it’s just a virus.’ Most parents said, ‘Okay, well it’s just a virus and it’ll run its course,’” Bryant said.

“We’ve had three years of really intense testing," she said. "We know the names of viruses, we see pictures of them on TV (drawings of them), and so now when a pediatrician says, ‘Mmm it’s just a virus,’ some parents are saying, ‘But which virus? Now I want to know.’”

Let’s be clear, Dr. Bryant says that’s a good thing.

She says that the COVID 19 pandemic put a new emphasis on learning about what’s making us sick. People spent time reading, learning about the diseases we face all the time.

Bryant says that can cause a bit more anxiety especially when kids get sick, but for the most part the viruses that are prevalent in the summer are ones that you’re going to catch at some point in time.

“In the end though, there are a lot of viruses circulating that cause mild illness in kids. We don’t have treatments for a lot of them. Sadly we don’t have vaccines for a lot of them, but fortunately most of these viruses that we talk about will cause mild illness in most kids and run their course,” Bryant said.

“It’s just part of being human to get exposed to these common viruses and so if you don’t get sick now then you’re going to get exposed to them and get symptoms later,” Bryant said.

Bryant says that if you have questions about a sick child you should contact a pediatrician. They will be able to help determine whether or not they need to be seen.

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