SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - As Thanksgiving approaches, Springfield-Greene County Health, CoxHealth, Mercy Springfield, and Jordan Valley Community Health Center are coming together to encourage families to take steps to prevent RSV, Influenza, and COVID-19.

CoxHealth hospitals continue to see unusually high rates of children admitted due to respiratory illnesses, particularly RSV. Moreover, respiratory illnesses, including RSV, are a top diagnosis at their urgent care clinics.

“We are continuing to see higher than average respiratory illness numbers for this time of year, and we are closely monitoring the situation, especially heading into the holidays,” says Dr. Kofi Asare-Bawuah, medical director of Pediatrics at CoxHealth. “As families gather in the coming weeks, it’s important to remember to wash your hands and be careful around babies. Should your child become ill, we encourage parents or guardians to call their pediatrician or family provider to determine the best place to receive care.”

At Mercy Springfield, the pediatric floor and pediatric intensive care unit have been at or near capacity for the last month. Amongst these patients, children under 3 months old and those with underlying health conditions have been the sickest, requiring care in the ICU. Mercy Springfield’s pediatric offices are also seeing many children with respiratory illnesses, with most clinics reaching or exceeding daily capacity. Mercy said that providers are working overtime to see all the patients who need them.

According to Mercy Section Chair for Pediatric Critical Care, Dr. Danyel Thaver, “As we progress into the winter, we may see more children requiring hospitalization as Influenza and COVID-19 cases increase. As the holiday season approaches, families - especially those with young or vulnerable children- can help control the spread of these viruses by masking while indoors.”

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department and Jordan Valley encourage parents, leading into the holidays, to consider limiting their child’s contact with others if they are under the age of two or have pre-existing conditions to limit the spread of RSV.

“We are seeing a surge in the number of children diagnosed with RSV in our clinics, with the most significant illnesses in infants under two years of age and children with pre-existing conditions.   For most children, RSV will have common cold symptoms, but if your child is having symptoms longer than seven days or experiencing trouble breathing, we want to see them right away,” said Dr. Matthew Stinson, Jordan Valley Family Practitioner and EVP.

In addition to taking precautions when around others, staying up to date on your COVID-19 vaccinations and getting your flu shot will help reduce the spread and severity of these viruses. To find a COVID-19 or flu vaccination opportunity that works for you, visit vaccine417.com or call 417-874-1211. To learn more about flu and RSV, visit health.springfieldmo.gov/seasonal.

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