Pediatricians offer help to those burnt out from caring for children through COVID-19

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) – Dr. Rob Trundel works for Charlottesville Pediatric Associates. He says it’s common for young children to get sick, especially with little exposure to germs during the COVID lockdown.

“Their little immune systems are learning how to deal with all these colds,” Trundel said.

With flu season approaching, RSV on the rise and COVID-19 still on the radar, some parents are feeling extra stressed.

dr. Heather Quillian is a pediatrician with UVA Health.

“I think the pandemic has taken its toll on parents trying to work from home and handle small children, especially,” Quillian said.

She says many children need to be tested for COVID-19 through school or childcare, even for mild symptoms.

The trips to and from the doctor for this examination and possible time away from school interfere with work schedules.

“I think that’s where we see the most burnout,” Trundel said.

Spending time at home early in the pandemic kept absenteeism low, making the current numbers of several illnesses seem alarming.

“I actually don’t think it’s more than what we saw pre-pandemic. I think it’s that we saw so much less last year because we were so isolated last year,” Quillian said.

Children’s immune systems must now catch up.

Both doctors have advice for parents, who may feel overwhelmed by changes in work schedules and caring for sick little ones.

“It makes sense to vaccinate everyone who can be vaccinated. The more you vaccinate against both the flu and COVID, the less disease there will be around your family,” Trundel said.

He also says, find a backup plan for your current daycare, in case of an emergency.

“Childcare is nice, but you can never always count on it. If there are relatives in town, if you don’t have relatives in town, sometimes a couple of young working moms and dads can get together and form a co-op,” Trundel said.

Quillian suggests incorporating activities you enjoy into your daily routine to improve overall mental health.

“While we’re all tired and wish we didn’t have to test our kids every time they have a runny nose, we’re not quite at the point where we can take our foot off the gas,” Quillian said.

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