TAMPA, Fla. — For at least one year, many families stayed in their own little bubble due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Protocols requiring face coverings and keeping enough physical distance between yourself and strangers became the norm. But as people return to pre-pandemic routines, other common viruses are now spreading.
"I have seen more in the office. I have seen more on the virtual visits," said Dr. Gregory Baker, a family physician with AdventHealth North Pinellas.
All of the restrictive measures in place in 2020 didn't just help to limit the spread of COVID-19, but they also dramatically cut down on other viruses like the seasonal flu and RSV.
"For the last year and a half or so, we’ve been hyper-vigilant in making sure you're exposing yourself to the least amount possible of environmental allergens," explained Dr. Baker.
However, by ditching the masks and socializing again we also started sharing germs again.
The Florida Department of Health saw a delayed surge in RSV cases among kids.
Dr. Nancy M. Silva of Small World Pediatrics in Tampa said she's still seeing a number of kids come in with RSV and ear infections. She's also seeing some of these infections spread to entire households.
"We actually have a parent that was admitted to the hospital with RSV which is unusual," said Silva.
Sharon Sloboda just got over a bad summer cold.
"Dayquil and Nyquil were my best friends," said Sloboda who says she got the cold from the kids she watches and spread it to her husband and daughter.
"He still has a cough lingering and my daughter does too. I just felt run down and tired but could push through it. They hit the wall," said Sloboda.
Dr. David Berger of Wholistic Pediatrics & Family Care in Florida said when we're normally interacting with one another, we're exposed to all kinds of viruses all the time. When we cut off the interactions, our immune systems didn't get that natural boost of being exposed to a multitude of germs.
"Nobody got sick with anything for more than a year," said Berger.
Although your immune system is likely as strong as it always was, that summer cold might hit you a bit harder since you haven't been sick in a while nor have you come in contact with a virus in quite that might have boosted your immune system without becoming a full-blown cold.
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