You’ve likely heard talk in the news about XBB1.5, an Omicron variant that has become a dominant strain of the Covid-19 virus in the US and that experts warn could soon become so in the UK, too.

According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, XBB1.5 accounted for 27.6% of overall US infections in the first week of January, inching closer to overtaking BQ.1.1 as the most common variant.

While for the most part this Omicron variant is similar to previous ones, there are a few things to know about XBB1.5, especially if you believe that it may have hit your household.

What symptoms of XBB1.5 are common in children?

Experts agree that symptoms tend to be the same as those we’ve seen before.

“I have not seen any evidence to suggest the main symptoms of XBB variant are different from previous variants,” Dr. Ruth Kanthula, a paediatric infectious diseases specialist at MedStar Health, tells HuffPost.

Common symptoms in children can include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Achiness
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose
  • Headache
  • Lost sense of smell or taste
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • GI symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea

“It’s hard to tell about loss of taste and smell in young kids,” says Dr. Tanya Altman, a paediatrician and author of Baby and Toddler Basics.

Altman says she has noticed that kids tend to be less interested in eating while they are sick, and ask for “more flavourful or spicy foods after they recover, which to me suggests their taste may not have fully recovered yet.”

Altman describes the majority of Covid infections that she is seeing now as mild – with kids having less serious symptoms than adults, such as shortness of breath. She adds that children seem to be recovering quickly after testing positive.

“This could be due to the fact that most of the population has some sort of immunity from previous infections or vaccines, or the virus is now weaker, and I think it’s likely a combination of both,” she continues.

It’s important to note, however, that a child can have two respiratory viruses at the same time, which may cause their symptoms to be more severe. Other viruses in heavy circulation right now include RSV and the flu, which some have dubbed, along with Covid-19, the “tripledemic”.

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