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RSV, Flu, COVID-19 all concerns for children's hospitals — Healthwatch 16

As the weather gets colder, we are all spending more time indoors. Unfortunately, that means more of us are getting sick.

DANVILLE, Pa. — It's still early in November, and health centers in our region are already seeing an influx of children with respiratory infections. Geisinger doctors say there has been an early surge of RSV, flu, and COVID-19 are not far behind. Capacity is tight at doctors' offices and hospitals.

"Janet Weis Children's Hospital is at or near capacity going into the third week. Geisinger Wyoming Valley's Children's Hospital's pediatric beds are also quite tight," said Dr. Stacey Cummings, Geisinger's vice chair of outpatient pediatrics.

Dr. Cummings says the surge in pediatric respiratory infections is a nationwide problem. Some children are catching more than one illness at a time. RSV and influenza impact the youngest children and the elderly the hardest.

"The young children, they really haven't been exposed to a lot of people who have been sick in the last few years, so things they might have seen a year or two ago, they didn't, and so they're seeing it this year. Instead of just maybe 1- or 2-year-olds being sick this year, we're seeing 1, 2, 3, and up."

Dr. Cummings encourages parents to protect their children from these seasonal viruses by keeping them home when sick.

Handwashing is important when it comes to stopping the spread.

"Things like rhinovirus and RSV live on surfaces. It doesn't mean someone has to sneeze on you, and you breathe it in to get it. It really means they sneeze on a surface, you touch that surface, or they wipe their nose — which we all know kids do — and then they touch a surface."

Geisinger doctors also urge parents to ensure their kids are vaccinated against COVID-19 and influenza.

See more Healthwatch 16 stories on YouTube.

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