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Can We Expect Fewer Fevers When Kids Get Their Jab?

November 5, 2021  ||  by Matt Albasi

COVID Joins Forces With RSV in the West

COVID-19 cases are stubbornly climbing in parts of the West this week. Colorado, in particular, is experiencing the highest case levels since January and hospitals are reaching capacity. This is in addition to the rising RSV cases in the region, discussed last week. Kinsa data shows the area currently has increased reports of fever, cough, and runny nose, and CDC-reported lab tests show continuingly high levels of RSV. Thankfully, flu cases remain low in the region so far this season. Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and California are seeing similar although less dramatic trends.

A chart showing the level of fevers increasing since the last week of October

National Illness Levels Increasing 

If you’ve found yourself wondering, “is everyone getting sick right now?” you wouldn’t be incorrect. Fevers are increasing significantly across the nation in the first run-up since August. Kinsa’s data shows the number of fevers began to grow in the last week of October and continued into this week. The increase comes after the metric stagnated between September and October. 

Fevers are rising because of several factors. One contributor is the increases in fever-causing illnesses in the West, but that doesn’t account for the magnitude of the shift. Other regions, like the South, are also seeing fevers increase, but at a slower rate than the West, which is contributing. In the same period, the main group of people eligible for booster shots, adults over the age of 60, experienced increased fevers which appears to have had a small impact on the surge. That bump has begun to return to normal, but we may see another surge in fevers as children 5-11 line up for their shots starting this week. Although, maybe not.

Expect Fewer Fevers When Kids Get Their Jab

Speaking of kids 5-11...with the CDC’s approval of a lower dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine for children ages 5-11 years, parents have already begun to line up to get their kids their doses. The news means around 28 million more people are now eligible for the vaccine which is more than 90% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID infections.  Though, as many of us remember, the shot can come with some day-or-two long side effects: fever, chills, and pain at the injection site were all relatively common for adults. During the CDC’s advisory committee meeting, Pfizer stated that only about 6.5 percent of children experienced a fever in the trials. Comparatively, about 17 percent of people aged 16-25 years old experienced a fever after receiving their jab. Based on this study, we’ll likely see less children experiencing fevers after their shots, but it’s still important to be prepared in case you’re caring for a child dealing with side effects from their jab. Our staff nurse Blake recommends: 

  • Treat a sore arm at the injection site with exercise and ice

  • If you need to take medication after receiving the vaccine and developing a fever, try Tylenol

  • For a headache, hydrate and again, if you need to take medication, take Tylenol.

  • And if you experience fever-associated symptoms like muscle aches and fatigue, hydrate, rest and treat yourself to a warm bath with epsom salt.

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