Readers, we’ve entered that time of year where we’ve got COVID actively circulating along with the added fun of cold and flu season.

In fact, there’s even a new term out there – flurona – which refers to when a person has influenza and COVID-19 at the same time. That sounds like a situation we definitely want to avoid.

Unfortunately, cases have been reported in multiple countries, including the U.S. – and have been for some time. The Washington Post reported on several cases occurring in South Florida, impacting children especially.

The Post interviewed one doctor who noted that in young people, multiple viruses can happen, citing a case where he once found five different viruses in the same child.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reported this week that cases among U.S. children are the highest ever reported since the start of the pandemic.

While the AAP notes, “severe illness due to COVID-19 is uncommon among children,” the agency also notes that more research is needed, particularly on the long-term impact of COVID on children.

It’s yet another reason why vaccinations are so important – especially as students are returning to schools across Yuma County. Let’s be honest. Schools are Petri dishes of germs. Every parent remembers the first year their child attended school. It was a year spent chasing runny noses with tissues, tending to coughs and sneezes and colds.

In defense of our schools, it’s important to recognize that districts across Yuma County have been especially proactive in cleaning campuses and doing what they can to mitigate the spread of germs since COVID began – and they should be recognized for their efforts.

However, kids are gross, especially in small spaces like classrooms. One sneeze by a child who forgets to cover their face can travel far – National Geographic notes a sneeze can spread as far out as 27 feet. And if that child has COVID or the flu, he’s also spreading infected droplets along the way. Classmates then breathe in those droplets, or the droplets land on their eyes, nose or mouth, or they touch something contaminated and then touch their faces … and it’s easy to see how a virus can spread.

Readers, it’s important to note that we aren’t advocating to close schools. But we do think it’s important to be proactive when it comes to keeping children healthy – and that means getting vaccinated.

Children ages five and up are eligible for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. And children ages 6 months and older are eligible for the influenza vaccination.

Those vaccinations aren’t going to stop COVID or the flu in their tracks, but they do help reduce the severity of illness – and that matters, whether one is 5 or 95.

Talk to your pediatricians, get the facts, and do what you can to keep our kids – and our schools – healthy.

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