Smoke from Rough Fire causes more patients at Valley Children's Hospital

Watch the video for extended coverage on the Rough Fire
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As smoke from the Rough Fire continues to settle across the Valley floor, some of the littlest residents are feeling a big impact on their lungs. The National Park Service issued new evacuation orders on Thursday for Grant Grove and Wilsonia because of the fire. The wildfire continues to create hazy skies with thick smoke seen across the Valley.

Doctors and nurses at Valley Children's Hospital in Madera say they've seen an increasing number of young patients suffering from respiratory illnesses. The hospital usually sees a big influx of respiratory patients in the winter but now, with the bad air and high temperatures hovering over the Valley floor, doctors are treating more patients with breathing problems.

Ryder Medina is staying occupied in his hospital bed by playing with Minecraft toys and watching television. The normally rambunctious 5-year-old had to be hospitalized early Wednesday morning after enduring a long night of difficult breathing and pain.

Ryder Medina said, "I got no sleep because I couldn't breathe."

Rachel Medina, Ryder's aunt, said, "He was coughing and it got worse and he started -- it was like really heavy breathing. You could see he was really trying really hard to catch his breath and that's what scared us the most."

When Ryder was first brought into the ER at Valley Children's, doctors administered breathing treatments and medication to help him. But after two hours and no progress they had to admit him. Ryder was diagnosed with Asthma.

Registered Nurse Mark Fung says Valley Children's is seeing roughly 30% more children coming in with respiratory illnesses because of the large amount of smoke in the air from the Rough Fire. Many that arrive at the hospital are in a lot more distress than they're used to seeing.

Fung said, "Generally, they're having longer flare-ups or they're having difficulty breathing earlier in the season or a really bad cough. It's lots of runny noses, sniffles but definitely coming in due to the fire and poor air quality."

Fung says the children coming in are either new patients or existing asthma patients who normally can manage their systems at home.

Fung added, "Usually, for those kids, the parents are really good at treating them at home but sometimes, especially now with the air quality, they're just having a really hard time keeping up."

Doctors are advising parents to keep children with breathing problems inside and have medication nearby. Clovis Unified School District also announced on Thursday that all outdoor activities for elementary students have been cancelled for the week. Outdoor sports for intermediate and high school kids may have time adjustments or include extra water breaks.

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