ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — Respiratory viruses are impacting children as the holiday season arrives.
Dr. Joel Tumlison with the Arkansas Department of Health said RSV, the flu, and COVID are spreading in the state. He said RSV is especially dangerous for young kids.
“Who suffers the most when they get it are small children certainly less than two years and especially infants, those are the ones that usually get hospitalized,” Tumlison said.
Arkansas Center for Health Improvement president & CEO Dr. Joe Thompson said keeping sickness away from children is critical.
“Little kids that have small airways, it can be a problem and I would encourage you to try to keep your family and your loved ones among healthy individuals,” Dr. Thompson said.
Mercy Northwest Arkansas is seeing an increase in patients right now, but couldn’t say how many of those are kids. Dr. Tumlison said ERs are seeing a lot more flu cases over the past couple of weeks.
“6.5 percent of the ER visits in Arkansas are due to an influenza-like illness,” Tumlison said.
Dr. Tumlison said kids being away from school during Thanksgiving might lessen the spread of viruses, but Thanksgiving gatherings could cancel that progress out.
“It converts into spreading to family members at the homes of those kids because they’re in homes and they’re celebrating the holidays,” Tumlison said.