Iowa doctors seeing viral infections on the rise in children as mask rules are relaxed

Iowa News

DES MOINES, Iowa (WHO) — As we see fewer masks and more people out and about in our communities, local doctors say they’re seeing more children getting sick with viruses heading into summer.

Dr. Dana Danley, a family medicine physician at Broadlawns Medical Center, said in the past few weeks she’s seen more children ages 5 and under with upper respiratory symptoms.

“Most commonly in the past week, I’ve seen a couple of cases of ‘hand, foot and mouth disease’,” Dr. Danley said. “Children are coming in with the red spots and a little bit of a low grade fever, runny nose, mostly very benign infections but something we haven’t seen for a little bit.”

We’ve all learned from the pandemic that viruses are spread by respiratory droplets. Dr. Danley said when people were wearing masks and social distancing, the risk of transmitting infection decreased.

“During this winter time we did not see any flu and that is very, very, very unusual,” Dr. Danley said. “And that is all responsible from masks, hand washing, and then if you’re sick staying home and not going to work or sending your kid to daycare or school.”

As people ditch the masks and congregate closer together, Dr. Danley notes the risk of transmitting infection increases. When it comes to keeping your family safe and healthy, Dr. Danley advises you to wash your hands, cover your nose and mouth when sneezing, and get vaccinated.

“I think that with the relaxation of mask requirements at schools, it’s going to be very important to protect the kids we can protect,” Dr. Danley said. “[Ages] 12 to 18 now can get vaccinated and the adults, and that’s the really the best thing that we can do to help protect ourselves.”

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