VCU Doctors say a trip to the ER isn’t always necessary for RSV, flu

Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 6:40 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) -RSV cases are on the rise but is a trip to the ER always necessary for your child? Local doctors are saying “no” and explaining what parents can do at home to help their children recover from the respiratory illness.

Doctors at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU say that wait times at the emergency department can exceed four hours because of how many parents are bringing their kids in to get checked out.

Doctors say you should only bring your child into the emergency room for respiratory illnesses if they display more severe symptoms like vomiting all of their food and drink or have a blue color around their lips and face.

“The number one reason to bring your child to the emergency department with one of these issues is going to be respiratory distress. If you feel that your child is struggling to breathe at that point, it’s not come on in. It’s a matter of perhaps calling the appropriate services,” said Dr. Patrick McLaughlin, a Pediatric Emergency Medicine physician at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU.

A trip to Urgent Care or a call to your pediatrician might be a more suitable course of action in some cases, like when it comes to monitoring a fever.

“The vast majority of children who contract these viruses will do just will do really well at home with supportive care from their parents, and that’s medicines to take care of fever and pain, increased fluid consumptions to stay hydrated,” stated McLaughlin.

Doctors also want you to remember that most hospital systems are still stretched thin due to continued staffing shortages and the fallout from COVID surges.

They are urging parents to do basic things like checking their child’s temperature and monitoring symptoms before deciding whether or not they need to bring them in for treatment.

“Save that emergency room bed for the patient that’s truly ill, that’s struggling to breathe, that is severely dehydrated. If it’s something that you just have a question or concern about your child’s fever or if you’re just seeking a test, you know we urge folks to use the places that are already available,” explained McLaughlin.

Doctors say that, unlike COVID, it’s not as necessary for people to bring their kids in to get tested for RSV and the flu. They can usually be treated at home without getting that positive test.