The BA.5 subvariant of the omicron variant COVID-19, along with similar strain BA.4, currently causes 80% of COVID-19 cases in the US and is causing the most recent rise in infections.
BA.5 is more likely to cause reinfections, even in children, than other COVID-19 variants.
But does the BA.5 subvariant cause the same symptoms in children as adults? Here’s what you need to know about the similarities and differences and how each age group should protect themselves.
BA.5 symptoms in children vs. adults: Are there any differences?
Stephanie Silvera, professor of public health at Montclair State University, said that the following symptoms of the BA.5 subvariant are common among children and adults:
- Runny nose
- sore throat
- Muscle bread
Silvera also noted that while children, in most cases “tend to have milder symptoms than adults, as infections increase, there has been a slight increase of pediatric hospitalizations.”
“It is important not to assume that your child will have a mild case and to take necessary precautions,” Silvera said. “In addition, because they may not have severe symptoms, it is important to remind parents to test their child if they have any symptoms or possible exposure.”
“Children, as well as adults, can be reinfected, and reinfections increase the risk for long COVID and other complications, including digestive and kidney disorders and cognitive impairment,” Silvera added.
How should adults and children protect themselves from the BA.5 subvariant?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), get vaccinated if you are 6 months of age or older and have not gotten your primary series of vaccinations.
If you are 5 years of age or older, the CDC recommends a booster shot if you are eligible.
Silvera said that if you have kids, “particularly those in camps,” it is a good idea to “stay outside as much as possible to reduce the risk of transmission.”
“The reality though is that this is good advice for everyone,” she added.
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