Latest on COVID and Omicron
Updated: Dec 20, 2021
COVID and Mental Health
As the COVID pandemic continues, we need to emphasize the importance of observing and reporting any suspicious behavior in our youth. As of December 8th, 2021, 38 children’s hospitals across the United States were surveyed, reporting a significant rise in the number of suicide and self-harm attempts. Compared to 2016, there was a 47% increase in cases for children between 5 and 8 years old and a 182% increase in those from 9 to 12 years old. This is a devastating statistic to grasp, emphasizing the importance of recognizing early signs of depression. If you are ever concerned for the safety of a child in your care, never hesitate to dial 911. Some behavioral changes to monitor include but are not limited to:
· Lack of appetite
· Loss of interest in activities
· Decreased interaction with classmates
· Increased level of sadness or quietness
· Decreased energy
· Suicidal ideations
While COVID-19 is not the cause of most mental health issues we see today, the social isolation and fear associated with this pandemic has allowed mental illnesses to surface. Unfortunately, the CDC suspects a large wave of infections by January 2022, highlighting the importance of open discussions with children, letting them know that they are not alone.
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COVID19 Omicron Variant
In terms of COVID-19 Omicron variant, roughly 33% of the United States Population is infected with this variant. However, the number of cases caused by Omicron is continuing to rise due to the rapid spread of this variant and the higher infectivity of it. Last week, federal health officials estimate that Omicron accounted for 73% of new infections.
This is an important time to discuss the COVID19 vaccine with your healthcare provider and also your child’s healthcare provider to determine if your child over the age of 5 should receive the vaccine. With over 7 million children across the world having COVID, vaccination rates are declining in our youth. While winter is officially upon us, getting vaccinated for COVID19 is an extreme priority, if your child is eligible. While it is still possible to contract the virus after the vaccine, the symptoms are reported as less severe than those of the unvaccinated. Similarly, hospital admissions are drastically lower in the vaccinated population - even with Omicron, stressing the importance and the effectiveness of the vaccine.
Common Symptoms of COVID19 Omicron Variant:
While we are all familiar with the loss of taste and smell, high fevers, body aches, cough, and difficulty breathing associated with COVID19, the Omicron variant may present differently. In fact, it often presents like the common cold:
· Runny nose
· Body aches
Whether you think you or your child are sick with the flu, the common cold, allergies, or COVID19, we encourage you to stay home, get tested for COVID19, and socially distance until COVID19 is ruled out. It is most definitely better to be safe than sorry during this pandemic!
Preventing the Spread
· Stay home when sick
· Speak with your doctor & determine if the COVID19 vaccine is right for you & your child
· Wear a mask whenever in public
· Socially distance
· Avoid large gatherings, even during the holidays
At the Institute for Childhood Preparedness, we are committed to keeping you and your family safe during the pandemic!