I’m a Pediatrician, And Here Are 3 Things Parents Can Stop Worrying About This Winter

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As a parent and pediatrician, I sometimes feel like worry is protective. If we think about everything, then maybe we can prevent it all from happening? But then along comes 2020…and no amount of worry or readiness could have prepared us for this.

See, we pandemic parents and pediatricians have now added never-before-considered worries to the list. Hugging a friend? Touching a doorknob? Visiting Grandma? Suddenly everything feels scary.

But, in the spirit of optimism, I am digging deep to help parents eliminate some of their fear and anxiety. Because truth be told, there’s a lot you can stop worrying about this winter. (Really!)

1. Endless cycles of colds

Every year since I’ve been in practice, I have a cohort of toddlers that are basically sick all winter with a cough and runny nose. Throw in an ear infection or bronchiolitis and these kids are back and forth to my office just about every week, with exasperated parents in tow. 

The good news? Thanks to more mask-wearing and sanitary protocols, these common colds are few and far between this year, which also means complications (think ear infections or wheezing) are down. All this means fewer antibiotics, nebulizers and steroids. Strep and flu rates are way down too, which is a nice change!

2. Icky skin-loving bugs

Gone are the days of molluscum, a wart-like virus that spreads quickly among children, scabies, a mite that lives under the skin and causes an insatiable itch and, my personal least favorite creepy-crawler—head lice! Instead, I’ve seen a significant reduction in all of these little bugs as kids are no longer in close contact, which means parents can rejoice in a winter free of dramatic comb-outs or stuffies isolated in plastic trash bags.

3. Concussions

I haven't seen a concussion in almost a year now, as the days of contact sports are on hold. While I'm delighted with the significant decline in head injuries from such things, parents certainly need remainders to get the kids out and about daily and to always wear helmets. Because while the head injuries might be nice to leave in the past, a skinned knee or two never hurt anyone.

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