Ahead of Thanksgiving, here are the viruses docs say they're seeing in metro Detroit kids

Posted at 6:06 AM, Nov 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-23 06:36:39-05

(WXYZ) — Families will gather all across metro Detroit for Thanksgiving, the start of the holiday season.

In the weeks after, families will celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa. In addition to bringing gifts and our favorite food, we'll also bring along coughs, germs and viruses that affect us and our kids.

Before hitting the road and gathering, we wanted to take a look at what's bugging metro Detroit.

Dr. Kevin Dazy, a pediatric hospitalist at DMC Children's Hospital, said in addition to colds and hand, foot, and mouth, he's seeing a lot of gastrointestinal viruses, too. Dazy said he knows first-hand those stomach bugs can be harder to stop than colds.

"As a father myself, with two children, it's really hard to explain to the younger kids what not to put in their mouth and make sure they're washing their hand," he said.

Then there's the flu. The season is just getting under way in metro Detroit, but there are already pockets of high transmission. At the University of Michigan, hundreds of students have come down with the flu, and it could be an ominous sign.

"Around the holidays is where we start to see an uptick, but definitely last year with having a milder flu season, it's kind of coming back at us like with a vengeance," Dr. Alanna Nzoma with C.S. Mott Children's Hospital said.

Nzoma is urging her patients to get the annual flu shot.

"Flu is definitely something that we want people to be aware of, to be cautious about, to get vaccinated," she said.

She's also urging people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, which in addition to the typical symptoms, can present as stomach problems in kids.

"Diarrhea, vomiting, in addition to like either cough or runny nose. Sometimes they don't have respiratory symptoms," Nzoma said.

In Macomb County, Dr. Salvatore Ventimiglia with Shelby Pediatrics said he's also seeing cases of croup on the rise.

"That is another upper respiratory infection somewhere around the voice box, where it has a distinctive seal like barking cough," he said.

Ventimiglia said other symptoms include fever, a hoarse voice, and noisy or labored breathing with a distinct cough that worsens at night.

"It can be quite serious. The younger you are, the more serious it can be because it's very hard to then control your airway," he said.

Croup typically lasts 2-5 days and most kids are still active and alert. But, if your child makes a noisy, high-pitched breathing sound when inhaling and exhaling, begins drooling or has difficulty swallowing, or develops blue or grayish skin around the nose, mouth or fingernails, then it's time to get help right away.

All of the providers say COVID-19 is high among kids, just like the overall population.