A Catholic school in Kansas City, Kansas, had to close for the rest of the week because the number of kids with flu and RSV kept going up. Christ the King Catholic School in KCK said on Wednesday that more and more students and staff have been diagnosed with flu or RSV.
The school said that it will clean the building during the five-day break. Children’s Mercy Hospital said that it is already seeing more kids with flu or RSV than it ever did before the COVID-19 pandemic.
And there is no sign that these diseases have reached their worst point yet. Doctors at Children’s Mercy Hospital are telling parents of kids older than 6 months to make sure their kids get flu shots and wash their hands often.
Dr. Jennifer Watts, the hospital’s chief emergency management medical officer, said, “I’m not surprised that a school is already closing.” “It would not surprise me if a few more have to close as we continue to push through this surge right now.”
The hospital said that its urgent care and emergency rooms have very long wait times this week, but doctors are working hard to see the sickest people as soon as possible.
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It’s the same at University Health and other Kansas City healthcare facilities. “We are seeing way more children now with RSV than we have in previous years,” said Raquel Garcia, registered nurse with University Health.
Some doctors think that more schools will be closed and that kids will have to wait longer in emergency rooms. “To go from not seeing 24 [cases] to seeing hundreds of people all in one month, that’s more than triple,” Garcia said.
Doctors say that RSV is a real danger for kids who already have health problems and for kids younger than a year. This is a worry for parents whose kids go to daycares. These moms and dads know that it seems almost inevitable that their child had, has, or will get sick.
Adeline and her mom, Jesse Hillegeist, can tell more about the weather than they can about sickness these days. “Oh, I am so alert. I am so on top of, like, if she even remotely has a cough, I’m like, ‘Is it teething? Is it sickness? What is it?’” Hillegeist said.
Sierra Fischer, baby Rhy’s mom, is a neonatal nurse who is looking for signs of trouble. “I definitely don’t get too rattled when you get a little bit of a runny nose. It’s really the fever and the wheezing and coughs and stuff like that that would really make me worried,” she said.
Garcia at University Health said that parents need to think about a lot of things when they think about RSV.
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“What we need to remember is that kids are still learning how to fight off viruses. Their immune systems are not as strong as our immune systems. And so they don’t have as strong of a fighting chance as adults do,” Garcia said.
She said that parents can make appointments with paediatricians early on when their kids get sick, but they should try to stay away from the ER, which is full of RSV patients right now.
Watts said that this is the first time in a long time that Children’s Mercy is seeing a lot more sick children than it can treat.
“But if it gets to the point where it’s affecting your breathing — so RSV attacks our respiratory tract. And with children they’ll right away with one single breath, and you’ll see it in their chest,” Garcia said.
“And for our little babies under one years old — who it normally affects the worst of everyone — they will start to turn grey and blue in colour because they’re not getting all the oxygen they’re supposed to.”
Signs of dehydration include dry crying and fewer wet diapers, so it’s best to head to the emergency room just in case. In addition, several mothers told FOX4 that they are doing everything in their power to stop the disease from spreading.
“With 3-year-olds, they’re very good with that. The little babies, it’s a little harder where you just kind of hope that everybody’s being safe and sanitary and not touching their little faces and hands and stuff like that,” Fischer said.
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Jessa Martin is the author of Nogmagazine, A professional in writing by day, and novelist by night, she received her bachelor of arts in film from Howard University and her master of arts in media studies from the New School. A Brooklyn native, she is a lover of naps, cookie dough, and beaches, currently residing in the borough she loves, most likely multitasking.