Pediatricians across our area are seeing a spike in winter viruses

CLEARFIELD COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Doctors across the region have noted an increase in upper respiratory infections among young people, which usually don’t occur this time of year.

Pediatricians have noted many cases of RSV and croup, as well as some ear infections. These viruses usually circulate during the winter months, but some have wondered: why are we seeing these now?

dr. Aswatappha, a pediatrician at Pediatric Healthcare Associates in Altoona, said nearly every child who has come to see him in recent weeks has shown some symptoms of the flu.

“Probably 10 times more cases than you would normally see,” said Dr. Aswatappha. “Definitely a bigger peak. Normally I would see a case here and there at this time of year. But we see many more every day.”

He attributes the spike to the easing of COVID restrictions. When children go back outside and socialize with others, he believes this has caused the spread.

He added that the cases he has seen recently are unusual to see at this time of year, but he said he wasn’t very concerned as these types of infections do the rounds every year.

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dr. However, Yin Yin Htun MD, a pediatrician at Penn Highlands Healthcare in DuBois, believes that, after seeing a record number of flu and other winter viruses last winter, the recent spike in cases could lead to more cases when winter comes.

“We are expecting this year – some of our older babies and children could have a severe reaction to the RSV infection,”

Symptoms to look out for include cough, cold and fever, which can progress to a raspy cough and difficulty breathing, which can lead to hospitalization. dr. Htun gave parents some tips to watch out for if their children are experiencing symptoms.

“Nose flickering, and then their neck muscles are hard at work. And then suck between the ribs. That means the child is having trouble breathing, so they should call their provider,” Htun said.

Both pediatricians said parents should make sure their children wash their hands with soap for 20 seconds, disinfect surfaces and practice other safe social guidelines, and call your pediatrician if these symptoms persist.

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