Amid jump in respiratory infections, doctors urge mindfulness ahead of holidays
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The fall and winter seasons are typically busy for pediatricians because they’re dealing with multiple viruses including the flu, parainfluenza, and RSV, but this year has been particularly busy -- coming out of a pandemic.
“I think the biggest tip is to not be afraid of RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus), or any of the viruses we lived in the past,” said Dr. Nadine Tenn Salle, Chair of Pediatrics at the Queen’s Health System. “And what this is, is a return.”
Salle said RSV, traditionally is a virus that most toddlers get.
But because of COVID protocols like masking and social distancing ending, she said they’re seeing a lot more RSV cases in older children and in some adults.
“But now, all the things that we caught when we were in preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school, our kids are starting to get it all at once,” said Salle. “And we’re seeing those numbers go up rapidly.”
“As a result, in the hospitals, we will see those numbers also float up equally.”
Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children says in October, they admitted more kids for RSV cases than any other month in the past six years.
They add that cases are declining slightly compared to early October.
Kaiser’s Moanalua Medical Center says 90% of children admitted have RSV, but the center still has capacity and the ability to flex up if needed.
Salle said she has sent about 20% of her patients to the emergency room.
And with the holiday season here, she encourages families to take the steps necessary to protect one another.
“When we come together, all the rules that we can sometimes put aside, we need to keep in mind,” said Salle. “So, if you know you’re sick, maybe consider not joining in with your family, wearing a mask when you do join your family or at minimum washing hands and covering your mouth when you cough.”
Salle said whenever there’s a doubt and whenever your child looks like they’re struggling, reach out to your doctor so they can determine whether your child needs to go to the hospital.
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