As pediatric COVID cases rise, more kids in DC area getting respiratory infections

A doctor said there is an increased rate of respiratory disease in children in the DC region, including common conditions in addition to COVID-19.

There is an increased rate of respiratory disease in children in the DC region, according to an emergency medicine pediatrician who said they include common conditions in addition to COVID-19.

“Respiratory illness includes everything from a simple cough and cold, all the way to very severe pneumonia or severe cases of COVID, which I’m sure people are thinking about,” says Dr. Sarah Combs, pediatrics on duty and director of emergency room outreach at Children’s National Hospital.

Details of the number of cases specific to Children’s National, Combs said 14 patients had been hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Aug. 17.

“Now that may not sound like a huge number, and certainly when compared to adult populations, it’s not a huge number, but you want to put that into context – that when we were in our peak of COVID here in DC back in late 2020 and in 2021, our peak number of hospitalized COVID patients was 18,” she said.

“So we certainly seem to be getting back to that peak number soon, seeing higher numbers of COVID cases entering the hospital and also COVID cases that are fortunately good enough to go home but get positive PCR tests, and with to go to go home and go into quarantine.”

During the first three weeks of July, Children’s National saw about 300 cases of bronchiolitis, an inflammation and infection of the small airways in young children. Combs called that “unprecedented” because it is typically a winter ailment. During last winter’s shutdown, Combs said there were no cases.

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“Basically, what’s going on is that kids get all kinds of viruses; their immune systems weren’t used to seeing these viruses for the past year because of some of the prescriptions we had with COVID. And so they get the viruses, they get hit a little harder. They’re getting a little sicker and may even need to go to the hospital,” Combs said.

Combs added that this is leading to a regional increase in the number of young and school-age children who need treatment and may even require hospitalizations for respiratory symptoms.

In Northern Virginia, the Inova LJ Murphy Children’s Hospital is noticing changes in the number of children seeking care.

“Overall, in our pediatric emergency department, we have seen an increase in volumes intermittently. Capacity issues have so far been minor and manageable,” said spokesman Curt McCormick.

“As the new school year begins in Virginia on Monday, Inova strongly urges anyone eligible to be vaccinated to wear masks in accordance with CDC guidelines, to maintain safe social distancing and to always wear a mask. good handwashing hygiene,” he said. .

Combs emphasized that anyone who is not feeling well should stay at home.

“If you are not feeling well, if your child is not feeling well, please do the responsible thing and keep them home from school that day, because that will help us best not to keep spreading viruses, if we can make sure that sick children stay at home. And those who are in school, those who interact, can be as healthy as possible,” she said.

And she urges parents not to overreact — most kids do a really good job fighting off viruses.

“So, even if they get sick, even if they’re dealing with something, if they’re just sniffing and coughing every now and then, but otherwise they’re happy and playful, drinking enough to stay hydrated and not breathing fast.” or look like they’re having trouble breathing, you can just keep them at home, lock yourself and your family in appropriately, but keep them at home and treat them there,” Combs advised.

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