When should you take your child to the hospital? Flu and respiratory illnesses on the rise

rise in respiratory illnesses in children
Posted at 4:27 PM, Dec 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-07 17:48:07-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Monday, an urgent call was made for federal health officials to help strained hospitals deal with the rise in respiratory illnesses among children across the country.

In a letter obtained by CNN, the Health and Human Services Secretary tells governors around the country that the Biden administration "stands ready to continue assisting you with resources, supplies, and personnel."

Doctor Joseph Gigante with Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt said the hospital has been filled with flu and RSV patients.

He said there are things to look for when deciding whether to take your child to the doctor.

If they are lethargic or not going to the bathroom as often as they usually do, that can mean they're dehydrated, and you should make an appointment.

There are also signs that may indicate whether they need to go to the hospital.

"For those kids who are having really severe respiratory problems, you may see some color changes where they're looking kind of dusky and blue," Gigante said. "Honestly, if you see a color change like that in your child, that's actually a 911 call, and get an ambulance to your home to take your child to the hospital as soon as possible."

Gigante also recommends lifting up their shirts, and if you can see their ribs, it means the child is working hard to breathe, and you should call your pediatrician.

Another thing he talked about is a shortage of Tylenol and Motrin.

Many parents have said they can't find it on store shelves.

Gigante recommends using the store brand of Tylenol, Motrin, or Advil.

He said to also call around to local pharmacies or check online for the medication.

One thing he emphasized was to not give adult versions to children, saying it's easy for them to get too much and to develop complications.

Get NewsChannel 5 Now, wherever, whenever, always free.

Watch the live stream below, and download our apps on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and more. Click here to learn more.