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Life returning to normal means croup and RSV are back infecting children

Published: Jun. 16, 2021 at 4:07 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 6:10 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Respiratory illnesses are making their way back around. After taking a break during the pandemic, common illnesses are back big time and kids are getting hit especially hard. Norton Children’s Hospital said they’ve seen a big spike in cases of both coup and RSV.

A little over a month ago, mother Brittany Burdoine-Lewis got worried when her 8-month-old daughter Lilliah wasn’t feeling well.

“Our daughter started to just started to have this really terrible cough,” Burdoine-Lewis said.

It was a cough that sounded odd.

“It definitely sounded like a barking cough, a seal,” Burdoine-Lewis said.

Burdoine-Lewis thought maybe it was allergies. To be safe she took Lilliah to the pediatrician. Lilliah had croup.

“Croup is caused by viral illness itself,” Dr. Sayeed Khan from Norton Children’s Fern Creek said. “You are having inflammation in your airway around the spot you have your vocal cords.”

Norton Children’s is seeing an increase in croup cases. In the first four months of 2021 (January - April), they diagnosed 93 cases. In May, the numbers spiked with 84 cases in just that month alone. There were 11 kids hospitalized with croup in April and May which is more than all of last year combined.

Khan says children can die from croup but, it’s not that common. And that’s not all. There have been many recent cases of RSV, Respiratory Syncytial Virus. Norton Children’s Hospital says for RSV, there were 12 cases in May and seven hospitalizations, both those numbers are higher than the previous 12 months combined.

Anyone can get RSV. Most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be serious, especially for older adults and infants.

“For really little kids excessive amounts of mucus it can get in the way of them breathing adequately,” Khan said.

All of these viral illnesses are not surprising as COVID restrictions are going away. What is interesting, according to Khan, is that viral season shifted.

“It’s very normal for us to see from September to March to see a lot of these viral illnesses kick up into gear,” Khan said. “Typically by March/April we’re not seeing much of it anymore but, because of COVID kids not getting together for the past year. Now, that things are opening back up and kids are interacting more. It’s natural that kids will interact and get each other sick.”

The best thing to do is for you and your kids to practice good hand hygiene, cover your nose and mouth when you cough. See a doctor if your child’s symptoms aren’t getting better.

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