North Texas pediatricians being overwhelmed with sick children

DALLAS Pediatric practices in North Texas are overrun with sick children, which is highly unusual for the summer season.

Masks were certainly effective in keeping children healthier. But now with so many masks off, there isn’t much immunity to typical seasonal viruses. This can cause viruses to spread faster than normal.

dr. Charles Dunlap of Pediatric Associates of Dallas echoes what pediatricians across the country are now seeing: a dramatic increase in teething.

“We’re seeing elevated winter levels of RSV, significant outbreaks of hand-foot-and-mouth disease virus, rhinovirus, and even some summer flu,” he said.

And this all happens before school starts.

“I think the perfect storm,” the doctor said.

Last week, Children’s Health said 249 children tested positive for respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. Cook Children’s saw 190 RSV cases.

dr. Dunlap says RSV is most serious for babies and toddlers.

“For children under 2 years of age and infants, it causes a syndrome called bronchiolitis, which is mucus production in the lower airways, wheezing, breathlessness and rapid breathing,” he said. “It’s serious enough to hospitalize children.”

dr. Dunlap is a big proponent of masking, but he does point to a link between masking and the summer peak of the virus.

“Making can delay the inevitable, but it’s the protective value when people can’t get vaccinated,” he said. “The benefits outweigh the drawbacks, even if some of the mainstream illnesses are delayed.”

In addition, children’s hospitals are still seeing an increase in hospitalizations for COVID.

Children’s Health has hospitalized 22 children for COVID, while Cook Children’s has 23 hospitalizations.

Between COVID and RSV, Dr. Dunlap parents never hesitate to call if their child is having trouble breathing.

“If you’re worried your child is having a hard time, that could be a 911 call,” he said. “But usually a pediatrician is the first choice if all you have to do is cough and breathe quickly.”

dr. Dunlap urges parents to be patient with wait times when calling their pediatrician for non-emergency matters. He says it’s still a good idea for people to stick to their pit visit agreements.

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