FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Arkansas Department of Health shows the state remaining in the “very high” activity level for the flu, and it’s not the only virus spreading around our area.

The Community Clinic’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Gary Berner, said their clinics have seen a ramp up of influenza and respiratory syncytial virus cases.

These viruses are causing many school absences according to Berner. They’ve also created a heartbreaking first month for one local mom’s newborn twins.

Siloam Springs mom, Macey Coffman, only held her twins at home for ten days before having to bring them back to the hospital. She noticed one of her babies was having trouble breathing, and would start to choke, which turned her lips purple and her face red.

At Arkansas Children’s Northwest, Coffman found out her newborns had RSV, along with many other local kids. So they had to find another hospital with space to care for them.

“Mercy luckily had beds available for us. So we were there with my son for 10 days and my daughter was there for 20 days. It was a process. It was a lot,” said Coffman.

Community Clinic’s in the area are packed with kids battling cases of RSV and the flu as well, according to Dr. Berner.

“Folks are feeling pretty sick with it. A lot of our providers have had folks that have had to go into the hospital or are seeing patients for hospital follow-ups or emergency room follow-ups,” said Dr. Berner.

Dr. Berner wants parents to watch for symptoms like muscle aches, fatigue, reduced energy levels, and fever. He said if they’re showing any of these — it’s a good idea to keep them out of school or even away from the Thanksgiving table.

“So we have high concerns about our kids in school. So really think about if your kids have any of those symptoms, and if you as an adult have any of those symptoms, whether it’s really safe for you to join the family at a Thanksgiving meal,” said Dr. Berner.

Dr. Berner said severe cases of flu can last seven to ten days. He said if you do have the flu, it’s best to wait 24 hours since your last fever before joining your family for the holidays or going back to work or school.

Also, Coffman urges other parents to be extra careful. That way they can avoid having to miss out on the upcoming holidays, or like her, having her kids spend the majority of their early life in a hospital.

“I’m just realizing that I’m missing out on the newborn sleepy stage and where they’re starting to smile. It stunk missing that,” said Coffman.

Coffman is back home with her twins and they’re recovering.

Dr. Berner reminds us that it’s not too late to get the flu shot. He said it will help your body fight off the virus, keeping you out of the hospital and shortening the time you’re sick.