As COVID-19 case numbers fall, respiratory illnesses in children begin to rise

Doctors are seeing an increase in respiratory illness in children now that COVID-19 cases are decreasing.

ROANOKE, Va. – Now that the country is seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases, other viruses are beginning to spread again, like cases of the respiratory syncytial virus, better known as RSV.

In the Roanoke Valley, doctors are seeing a spike in these types of respiratory illnesses in children.

“Certainly throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen a drastic decrease in respiratory illness, most pediatric illnesses really dropped off and almost bottomed out. we are seeing an uptick in the pediatric world,” said Carilion Children’s Chief of Pediatrics, Dr. Christopher Pierce.

He suspects the reason for this uptick may be the precautions taken against COVID-19.

“I think the degree of masking, the degree of isolation that we didn’t have a flu season, didn’t have an RSV season, the kids didn’t get antibodies, didn’t get the immunity as we went through the season,” said Dr. Pierce. “But if we didn’t get that seasonal immunity, then we are going to get that seasonal infection rate to some degree I think,” he added.

As for what to do if your child begins suffering from symptoms like cough, cold or congestion, Dr. Pierce has some recommendations.

“Most kids do quite well, there is nothing really preventative antibiotic is going to do no use for this it’s really the supportive care,” he said.

Dr. Pierce says groups who are most susceptible to needing additional care are infants, preemies and children who have preexisting heart or lung conditions, but if you’re concerned always contact your child’s doctor.

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