Infectious diseases expert warns of tough pediatric respiratory season ahead

Doctor's office
Posted at 11:03 AM, Sep 21, 2022

GREENWOOD, Indiana — It started with what the Haughn family thought was a cold. Fast forward two days later, and doctors at an urgent care center diagnosed Leilani with RSV and pneumonia.

“It’s been worse than anything that we’ve dealt with,” Sasha Haughn, Leilani’s mom, said.

Doctors are warning respiratory season for kids is here and taking hold. Haughn echoes that statement.

“I never thought that we would be dealing with RSV in mid-September on an 80-degree day,” Haughn said. She continued, “It’s been a ride but I think we’re past the scary part.”

The mom of three said her daughter is doing better following several rounds of steroids and antibiotics. Still, she took to Facebook to share her story as a warning to other parents — the respiratory season is here, and it is wreaking havoc.

“I think that’s why we waited to take her because it’s not wintertime. It’s not your typical flu season,” Haughn said.

From RSV to rhinovirus to enterovirus and everything in between — Riley Hospital for Children’s Dr. John Christenson shares that current bed availability is tight.

“There’s a lot of resilient people and they persevere and provide good care, but the reality is, definitely there’s a lot on the system,” Christenson said.

The infectious diseases doctor urges parents to answer these questions to determine if a child needs more medical attention.

  • Is there breathing difficulty?
  • Can a fever be controlled by medicine?
  • Are they refusing to eat?

“Right now, we’re double last week of our isolation of rhinovirus and enterovirus,” Christenson said.

Christenson predicts RSV will peak in about a month, which is earlier than normal. As for influenza, he believes that will take hold early in the new year.

His best advice to parents -- keep kids home if they are sick.

“Imagine now covid along with RSV, influenza and all these other viruses circulating at the same time, it’s going to put quite a strain on healthcare systems,” Dr. Christenson said.

This article was written by Nikki DeMentri for WRTV.