O’FALLON, Mo. – Three different viruses are spreading quickly, and doctors are expecting a busy winter, especially with kids.
Local hospitals said respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases are rapidly increasing, along with the flu and COVID-19. A pediatrician’s office in O’Fallon, Missouri, said it was slammed with phone calls and sick kids on Thursday.
“The cases are getting higher and higher, and there are not enough hospital beds, which is why it’s so important that people do as much as they can at home,” said Dr. Sabat Ameen.
She said there are several reasons for the increase in viruses. Ameen said masks and handwashing are the best ways to prevent spreading. She said if your child is sick, call your pediatrician’s office.
“I honestly wouldn’t recommend coming to the pediatrician’s office if your child is asymptomatic because you only bring them into an area where they can get exposed to more viruses,” Ameen said. “So, I recommend staying home and just monitoring if you see any signs or symptoms, call us and let us know.”
Physicians at BJC said they have seen an increase of 300% in RSV and respiratory illnesses compared to 2021. Doctors said these viruses are scary for parents, but there are things you should look for.
“Things like running nose or cough or very low or no fever, they can still talk and play. That would be the time to call the pediatrician or potentially going to the pediatrician’s office,” said Dr. Jamie Kondis.
She encouraged parents to monitor for more severe symptoms with their kids.
“They’re having significant trouble breathing, you’re having trouble arousing the child,” Kondis said. “They seem dehydrated and a fever in infants who are eight weeks or younger. It’s those real young infants that are at highest risk, that’s the time when we would direct you to the emergency room department.”
BJC said last week they tested 1,200 kids for RSV, and 19% were positive.