Florida children's hospitals fill up amid surge in RSV infections

Florida children’s hospitals fill up amid surge in RSV infections

Heading into the annual flu season, doctors are urging people to get their kids vaccinated. This year, experts expect the flu to be accompanied by COVID-19 spread and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.Doctors at Nemours Children’s Hospital said their emergency rooms have been busy, and vaccines will be the key to keeping kids safe during flu season.“Fortunately, in Florida, COVID numbers are still on a gradual decline, but what’s marched into its place is influenza and in young children, an increase in RSV,” said Dr. Kenneth Alexander, chief of infectious diseases at Nemours.Alexander says their emergency department is already busy.“This is also leading into exacerbations of things like asthma, especially in kids with things like lung disease and in diseases like cerebral palsy and seizure disorders. So our emergency rooms are very busy,” Alexander said.Fortunately, he says, vaccines for both COVID-19 and the flu can help. “The good news is this: We can vaccinate against influenza, and we can vaccinate against COVID-19. We’ve been working for decades on a vaccine for RSV, and really wish we had one, but we can protect ourselves against two out of the three, and the other bit of good news there is it’s perfectly safe and effective to get your flu vaccine and your COVID booster at the same time.” Alexander said he’s urging parents to consider getting themselves and their kids vaccinated now that they’re available. “By vaccinating your family, hopefully, you’re going to miss less work, and you’re going to miss less school, and you’re not gonna be swabbing everybody to try to figure out what they’ve got. Might also avoid a few doctor visits,” he said. Alexander said the updated COVID-19 vaccine, which is now available to kids, is particularly effective against the omicron variant.

ORLANDO, Fla. —

Heading into the annual flu season, doctors are urging people to get their kids vaccinated.

This year, experts expect the flu to be accompanied by COVID-19 spread and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.

Doctors at Nemours Children’s Hospital said their emergency rooms have been busy, and vaccines will be the key to keeping kids safe during flu season.

“Fortunately, in Florida, COVID numbers are still on a gradual decline, but what’s marched into its place is influenza and in young children, an increase in RSV,” said Dr. Kenneth Alexander, chief of infectious diseases at Nemours.

Alexander says their emergency department is already busy.

“This is also leading into exacerbations of things like asthma, especially in kids with things like lung disease and in diseases like cerebral palsy and seizure disorders. So our emergency rooms are very busy,” Alexander said.

Fortunately, he says, vaccines for both COVID-19 and the flu can help.

“The good news is this: We can vaccinate against influenza, and we can vaccinate against COVID-19. We’ve been working for decades on a vaccine for RSV, and really wish we had one, but we can protect ourselves against two out of the three, and the other bit of good news there is it’s perfectly safe and effective to get your flu vaccine and your COVID booster at the same time.”

Alexander said he’s urging parents to consider getting themselves and their kids vaccinated now that they’re available.

“By vaccinating your family, hopefully, you’re going to miss less work, and you’re going to miss less school, and you’re not gonna be swabbing everybody to try to figure out what they’ve got. Might also avoid a few doctor visits,” he said.

Alexander said the updated COVID-19 vaccine, which is now available to kids, is particularly effective against the omicron variant.

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