Phoebe sees childhood flu and RSV cases as the holidays approach

ALBANY, GA. (WALB) — Are RSV and flu cases in children rising as the holiday season begins? WALB’s Jim Wallace spoke with a South Georgia pediatrician who provided some insight into the subject.

Many people talk about RSV and flu in children. What do you see now in South Georgia?

“We had a lot of falls the week before. But last week we only had 12 babies testing positive, which was half of what we saw before,” Dr. Edwin Taylor, pediatrician at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital. “So thankfully the numbers are now falling in terms of RSV.”

But what about the flu?

“Now we see more flu cases. Last week, I mean, we had about 15 cases in my office. Tested positive for flu. Yeah, so now the flu is almost replacing RSV,” said Dr. Taylor.

That is bad news. This is the holiday season coming up. Many families will come together and many people will travel. What do you currently advise families to do to protect their children?

“Yes, we always emphasize regular hand washing and the use of alcohol-containing sanitizers in the home and office,” Taylor said. “And if you have a most vulnerable group for RSV is babies under 3 months old. And babies born with certain heart conditions. Or chronic heart disease. If you have one of those babies, it’s best to keep them away from daycare for now. And just avoid big crowds with younger babies with heart problems. We also advise parents not to smoke in the house. Smoking actually makes things worse for respiratory viruses in younger children.”

I know there are some cases where you have both RSV and the flu together. So this is really something parents should think about when making their vacation plans.

“Absolutely. We advise parents to come by for their flu shot. To vaccinate their children. And if the baby is younger than 6 months, the parents must get themselves vaccinated. That certainly helps against the flu. We do not yet have a vaccine for RSV, but for flu, parents can do a lot to prevent that,” Dr. Taylor said.

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