‘We’re seeing a lot of sick kids’: Pediatrician urges parents to help stop the spread of flu, RSV

ORLANDO, Fla. — State data shows flue cases are trending upward right now in almost every Central Florida county.


As a result, parents are having a hard time finding medications to help treat their sick children.

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With families gathering for the holidays, flu, COVID-19 and RSV cases are circulating across Central Florida, with kids bearing the brunt of those illnesses.

“This is the season where you don’t want everybody kissing your baby,” Senior Director of Infection Prevention at Orlando health Melissa Morgan said.

Pediatrician Selma Elfaki says she was already seeing a spike in sick kids after Thanksgiving, and she expects it to get worse.

Pandemic measures like social distancing helped curb that trend in 2020 and 2021, but respiratory viruses are making a comeback, and they’re packing a punch.

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“These viruses that we haven’t seen in a couple years, a lot of children don’t have immunity like they used to,” Elfaki said. “So we’re seeing a lot of sick kids and having more severe symptoms.”

Amid a shortage of over-the-counter medicines like Children’s Motrin and Tylenol, Elfaki says the best medicine is preventative care. She says there’s still time to get your child a flu or COVID shot now to avoid a hassle later.

Elfaki is also reminding parents that fevers and other symptoms can be mitigated with alternatives like cold compresses or lukewarm baths.

“If your child’s temperature is 102 but they’re running around and they’re playing, they are fine,” Elfaki said. “But if they look really uncomfortable, crying or distressed, that’s when I suggest treating them with medication.”

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Fortunately, hospitals across Central Florida have said they’re not dealing with overwhelmed emergency rooms.

Right now, Orlando Health officials say their flu and COVID cases are increasing. However, Nemours says it’s seeing an increase typical for the season, while AdventHealth says their flu and RSV cases are actually starting to level off.

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