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Is it COVID-19, RSV or the flu?

Here are the key symptoms to help determine which virus you have

ST. LOUIS — As more kids head back to school for the new year, we wanted to follow up on a story we first reported on in March on missed childhood vaccinations.

A Blue Cross Blue Shield study found routine childhood vaccinations for illnesses like measles and whooping cough were down 20-30% in 2020. The decline was largely due to the pandemic and parents missing their children's routine check-ups.

Well the good news is pediatricians are seeing those vaccinations go back up.

Today in St. Louis’ Allie Corey caught up with Dr. Maya Moody, a Mercy pediatrician and vice president of the Missouri chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dr. Moody said her office is ordering a lot more childhood vaccines, which is a sign they're starting to catch up on that decline we saw during the height of the pandemic. While they’re not back at pre-pandemic levels, she is hopeful they will get there.

Dr. Moody and Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Jason Newland are concerned about what the return to school may bring.

“I'm sitting on the edge of my seat a little bit, but it's more because I just want to see how safe school is in the midst of a pandemic with a virus that is bad is a bad actor. I think we're all at our wits end about it, but I know we can do school safe and I also know the benefit of school for our kids is tremendous,” Dr. Newland said.

For Dr. Moody, the key to keeping kids safe is getting them vaccinated if eligible.

"Vaccinate your children on their routine vaccinations and COVID if they're eligible, but also wearing a mask and washing your hands. You know those general mitigations not only work for COVID, but those other virus' as well,” said Dr. Moody.

Dr. Moody said it can be tough to differentiate between the viruses and you'll likely run into a situation where you're not sure if your kid has RSV, the flu or COVID-19.

Here's what to look out for:

  • RSV has a lingering cough that can last up to a week. It also tends to impact infants and toddlers.
  • The key symptoms of COVID-19 are the shortness of breath and loss of taste and smell.
  • With the flu, you almost always get the body aches, fever and chills.

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