Some parents have 'heightened sense of fear' as COVID-19 and cold season collide

Elaina Athans Image
Thursday, September 23, 2021
Some have 'heightened sense of fear' as COVID and cold season collide
UNC Health says it is seeing a higher volume of colds and respiratory illnesses than is typical, and that includes RSV among children.

Fall is here and some parents do have angst over their kids becoming sick. There's plenty floating around in the air and it can lead to confusion.

Fuquay-Varina parent Challyndel Slaughter had a scare recently.

"In years past, if your kids had a cough, you would just go 'Oh, they have a cough and you would ignore it,'" she said.

One of her kids started feeling under the weather. They quickly went into for testing as a precaution.

"You have to worry about it's not coronavirus, what it is - is it RSV? And it's a more heightened sense of fear. As a parent, it's not even just about your kid. All of your kids get cough and colds. It's almost you can't go out in public if they have a cough or cold because you're publicly shunned," Slaughter said.

UNC Health says it is seeing a higher volume of colds and respiratory illnesses than is typical this time of year, and that includes RSV among children.

WakeMed says they're expecting more flu this season than last.

Jessica Dixon, WakeMed's Infection Prevention Specialist, says the only way to rule out COVID is testing.

She knows of COVID cases where the symptoms were subtle.

"He just had a stuffy nose and his wife basically just bothered him and said 'We need to go get tested anyway' and it turns out he had COVID," said Dixon. "Many (people) may have mild symptoms that just look like allergies (or) that just look like a cold, but those can certainly be COVID."

Slaughter decided to pull her youngest out of daycare. She says there's just too much going around and the closures over scares are constant.

"I'm not going to pay over a thousand dollars a month and then keep her home for two weeks. It's just not worth it," said Slaughter.

Health professionals are urging folks to continue wearing masks in crowded, indoor spaces to protect yourself from COVID and other viruses.