Respiratory virus uptick among pediatric patients in Valley

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ByNico Payne via KFSN logo
Friday, October 21, 2022
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Respiratory illnesses are arriving early in parts of the nation, specifically in pediatric cases.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Respiratory illnesses are arriving early in parts of the nation, specifically in pediatric cases. Hospitals are seeing an increase in illnesses like RSV, flu and the common cold.

"Emergency departments across the nation are experiencing a significant surge, and our emergency department here at Valley Children's is no different," explained Caury Updegraff, Director of the Emergency Department with Valley Children's Hospital.

The CDC has reported an early increase in seasonal influenza and respiratory illnesses like RSV over the past few weeks.

"RSV is a virus and primarily is a little more significant in a patient that is under the age of six months due to their anatomy," added Updegraff.

A southern California mother has been caring for her 18-month-old son who has been in the hospital for more than a week.

"Really high fevers, difficulty breathing, having to work really hard to breathe. He would cough until he vomited," said Amanda Bently.

Medical professionals say this year's trend is very different from what hospitals experienced the past two winters.

"The virology of what we've seen because of COVID, the lockdowns, shutdowns and those types of things, it's kind of thrown off the normal typical pattern," said Updegraff.

To help with overcrowding, hospital staff wants parents to educate themselves on what symptoms to look out for and when it's necessary to head to the emergency room.

"Really severe difficulty breathing, really high fever lasting for days that's not coming down with fever reducing medicine, things like lethargy, vomiting to the point that they can't keep down water," explained Dr. Webb.

School districts in the Central Valley say they're not seeing the full impacts of the combined illnesses in local schools yet.

"School starts, kids start swapping germs, the weather gets colder, which in Fresno, that's hard to believe but that does eventually happen. They spend more time indoors, they're sharing everything and that includes germs," said Dr. Webb.

Medical professionals explained that a fever alone doesn't necessarily mean you should rush to the emergency room -- that could expose you to more germs.

They suggest reaching out to your primary physician first.