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

Mother reading to children
Mother reading to children
Published: Dec. 11, 2021 at 5:26 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Dr. Rob Trundel works for Pediatric Associates of Charlottesville. He says it’s common for young children to become ill, especially with hardly any exposure to germs during the COVID lockdown.

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

With flu season arriving, 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 who are trying to work from home and manage little kids, especially,” Quillian said.

She says, many children are required through school or child care services to be tested for COVID-19 for even slight symptoms.

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

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

Spending time at home in the beginning of the pandemic kept sickness low, making current rates of various sicknesses seem alarming.

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

Kids immune systems, now have to play catch up.

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

“The obvious one is vaccinate anybody who can be vaccinated. The more you vaccinate against both flu and COVID, the less illness will be around your family,” Trundel said.

He also says, find a back up plan to your current childcare, in case of an emergency.

“Daycare is nice, but it’s never something you can always count on. If there’s family members in town, if you don’t have families members in town, sometimes a couple of young working mothers and fathers can get together and form a co-op,” Trundel said.

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

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

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