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What South Dakota parents need to know about the omicron variant

Sanford Children's Hospital
Sanford Children's Hospital

The attached interview audio is from SDPB's daily public-affairs show, In the Moment, hosted by Lori Walsh.

The highly contagious Omicron variant is spreading quickly. Health officials say it’s affecting children more than previous variants.

Joseph Segelon is a doctor at Sanford Children’s Hospital in Sioux Falls.

“That virus, even though it is less severe than the Delta variant, the sheer increased numbers of infections, and the vulnerable people that it will find, is going to therefore infect more people," he said. "And we are seeing increased hospitalizations among children with this current Omicron variant.”

Segelon said symptoms in young children may mimic a cold or the flu.

He said parents should encourage their children to practice good hygiene like hand-washing, covering their mouth when coughing or sneezing, wearing a mask and staying home from school when sick. He suggests surrounding kids with vaccinated adults to prevent contracting or spreading COVID-19.

And Segelon urges parents to vaccinate eligible children.

Vaccines are free and available to the public. Information is online at vaccines.gov.

Megan hosts All Things Considered and the SDPB News podcast.