Phoebe seeing flu and RSV cases in children as holidays approach

Phoebe seeing flu and RSV cases in children as holidays approach
Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 10:48 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Are RSV and flu cases on the rise in children as the holiday season begins? WALB’s Jim Wallace sat down with a south Georgia pediatrician who gave some insight into the topic.

A lot of people talking about RSV and flu in children. What are you seeing right now in South Georgia?

“We had a lot of cases the week before. But this past week we had just 12 infants testing positive, which was half of what we used to see before that,” Pediatrician with Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, Dr. Edwin Taylor. “So fortunately the numbers are going down now in terms of RSV.”

But what about flu?

“Now, we are seeing more flu cases. Last week, I mean, we had in my office we had like 15 cases. Testing positive for flu. Yes, so now the flu is almost replacing RSV,” Dr. Taylor said.

That’s bad news. This is the holiday season coming up.  A lot of families will be getting together, and a lot of people traveling.  What do you recommend for families right now to protect their children?

“Yes, we always emphasize frequent hand washing and use of alcohol-containing sanitizers in the home and offices,” Taylor said. “And if you have a most vulnerable group for RSV is babies, younger than 3 months. And babies born with certain heart conditions. Or chronic heart disease. If you have any of those babies, it’s best to keep them away from daycare for now. And just avoiding large crowds with younger babies with heart issues. And we also advise parents not to smoke in the home. Smoking does actually make things worse for respiratory viruses in younger children.”

I know there are some cases where you have both RSV and flu together. So really this is something parents need to think about as they make their holiday plans.

“Absolutely. We advise parents to come in for their flu vaccine. To vaccinate their children. And if the baby is younger than 6 months for the parents themselves to get vaccinated. That will definitely help with the flu. We don’t have any vaccine for RSV yet, but for flu, parents can do a lot to prevent that,” Dr. Taylor said.