Sick Children Overwhelming North Texas Pediatricians

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In an extraordinary and unusual summer season, North Texas pediatrician offices are overwhelmed with sick children. 

In a move synonymous with other pediatricians around, Dr. Charles Dunlap, with the Pediatric Associates of Dallas, is calling attention to the rise in childhood illnesses. 

“We’re seeing increase winter levels of RSV, significant outbreak of hand foot and mouth virus, rhinovirus, and even some summer flu,” Dr. Dunlap said. “Quite the perfect storm, in my opinion.” 

According to a last week’s report from Children’s Health, 249 kids tested positive for the respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. Cook Children’s also reported that 190 children tested positive for RSV cases.  

Dr. Dunlap also added that the respiratory syncytial virus is most serious for babies and toddlers. 

“For kids younger than two and infants, it causes a syndrome we call bronchiolitis, which is mucus production in lower airways, wheezing, respiratory distress, and rapid breathing,” he said. “It’s serious enough to hospitalize children.” 

Dr. Dunlap, a big supporter of masks, pointed to a correlation between masking and the summer spike in the virus.  

“Masking might delay the inevitable, but it’s the protective value when people could not get vaccinated,” he said. “The benefits outweigh the negatives, even if delaying some of the regular illnesses.” 

Pediatric hospitals are currently seeing an increase in hospitalizations for COVID-19. Children’s Health has 22 children who are currently hospitalized for COVID-19, while Cook Children’s has 23 hospitalizations.  

Dr. Dunlap advised parents never to hesitate to call if their child has trouble breathing because the child might be infected with the COVID-19 virus or RSV. 

“If you’re worried your child is struggling, that may be a 911 call,” he said. “But most of the time, if just coughing breathing fast, a pediatrician is the first choice.”  

The doctor also urged parents to be patient while waiting when they call their pediatrician for health issues that are not urgent. 

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