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Overland Park pediatrician offers advice to parents as flu, RSV cases spike

Posted at 8:13 PM, Nov 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-22 21:21:22-05

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — According to a recent report from Children's Mercy Hospital, with respiratory syncytial virus cases on the rise, the flu is spiking even higher in children this holiday season.

Many parents in the Kansas City area are finding their kids sick right before the holidays, including Gina Vitale.

“Anna is four and a half; she is in pre-k and she just had a little intestinal virus," Vitale said. "And Maggie, we think has strep; she is being tested for COVID-19, RSV, strep and the flu."

According to Dr. Natasha Burgert, a pediatrician at Pediatric Associates in Overland park, Vitale isn't alone, as RSV and flu cases are spiking.

“I've been doing this for about 15 years, and this is one of the worst seasons we've seen for flu and RSV,” Burgert said. "These kids are looking sick; they need care, we need to see them. But I know my colleagues in the hospital and my colleagues in the emergency room are just overwhelmed as well.”

On Monday, Burgert reported seeing about 30 to 35 kids alone at her clinic in south Overland Park.

Burgert said her partners each saw about the same about of sick kids Monday.

“It has also been a little tricky, because we are seeing kids with high fevers for a few days, but then the fever breaks, so then they go back to school and the fever comes back," Burgert said.

Amid the spike of RSV and flu cases, Burgert suggests parents make sure their children are up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations.

On Tuesday, Megan Longstreet took the time to make sure her daughters are safe this holiday season.

“We are all healthy today, so we are going in to get our flu and COVID-19 boosters," Longstreet said. “We have a big family that is planning to come in town and get together for Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I just want to make sure that they are protected as possible.”

Burgert also suggests parents with younger children take extra precaution.

“I’m worried about infants and my young patients under the age of six months — especially if they are going to be around school aged kids," Burgert said. “They are likely going to be harboring something while they are passing the turkey."

Burgert also said parents should make alternative plans or delay them if a child is sick.

“If they are traveling, I would want them to wear a mask while traveling to try to decrease spread,” she said. “Especially if you are going to be around elderly people or people at high risk for other medical conditions."