COLORADO SPRINGS – As kids go back to school, local pediatricians are seeing an increase in respiratory illnesses.
Children’s Hospital Colorado and across the country, pediatricians are seeing an early respiratory season. Viruses not typical for this time of year, such as Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), are popping up in environments such as childcare, playdates and schools.
Colorado Springs parent Rachael Gates knows RSV all too well.
“He was coughing a lot. It was loud and raspy, but then I felt like his breathing was getting worse,” Gates said.
Her son contracted the virus in a daycare a few years ago, resulting in hospitalization.
“I have asthma, so my inclination was that he also had an asthma problem. So we took him in and they said he seemed fine because he talks and looks at you. When they listened to his chest, they could’ heard no asthma When they turned on the heart rate monitor they realized his oxygen level was very low To see your child hooked up on oxygen and then be told to stay in a hospital overnight is something no one mother wants to hear,” Gates said.
An experience she calls terrifying, and which her sister is currently going through with her children.
“My sister is in Chicago and was very nervous about putting her six month old child in daycare, but she had no choice because she and her husband both work. She overcame her fear, put him in and he was there for three and a half hours. days, came home sick and now has RSV. It made me think that my choice to keep my child at home was the right one, because I can’t take it anymore,” Gates said. “It wasn’t even a kid in his room that had it, it was a kid in another room. Now not only does their six-month-old son have it, but her four-year-old daughter has it, and she’s got it, though from which they said it really doesn’t affect adults the same way it affects kids.”
Pediatricians at Children’s Hospital Colorado say viruses that normally circulate in the winter are now making a comeback.
“We see a significantly early respiratory season. There are certain viruses that usually only circulate in the winter, such as the viruses that cause croup and bronchiolitis. These are viruses that are normal in a particular winter season. What’s not normal is to see them.” peak in the winter. This is a time when the kids we see in the emergency room and hospitals are generally here for other things. Not coughing, runny nose, fever and breathing difficulties,” said Dr. Kevin Carney, Associate Chief Medical Officer at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
Children’s Hospital Colorado along with other places in the country are seeing a huge spike in the number of children being hospitalized.
“We’re fighting against seeing this normal RSV virus at a very different time of year, on top of what’s happening with COVID. That’s going to be a bigger problem in children as we progress.”
the pandemic,” said Carney. “Children with multiple viruses are being hospitalized. So different, healthy kids who get COVID on top of RSV and other viruses that cause things like hovels,” he continued.
While they don’t know the exact reason for the increase, Carney says it’s important for families to take precautions to stay safe and healthy.
“Washing your hands properly, if your child has the availability to get the vaccine for COVID, make sure wearing masks is something we very much support, not just for COVID. We saw that during the winter last year when the children wore masks together in rooms it has had a positive influence on the transmission of RSV and colds.Especially when school starts again, don’t send your children to school when they are sick.That will be an extremely important way for them to and prevent others from getting sick,” Carney said.
Carney expects the increase in respiratory disease to continue in the coming months. He encourages the community to work together so it doesn’t continue into winter.
“If we don’t take those proactive steps and our parents in the community watch this and help mitigate some of the spread of this, it’s going to continue for a while,” Carney said.
For parents who are now dealing with the virus.
“Trust your gut and if something doesn’t seem right, bring your child in to be checked out because I feel like if I hadn’t known about asthma I would have thought it was a serious cold. Buy an oxygen monitor to keep at home and wear your masks if your kids can,” Gates said.
Carney also recommends that children with asthma or underlying conditions take their medication daily and monitor symptoms. He also encourages them to get their flu shot this year to avoid any problems down the road.