Doctors reporting unusual spike in cold, respiratory infections within kids this summer

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — If your child is coming down with a cold in the summertime, you’re not the only one!

Doctors said there’s been an unusual uptick in colds and other infections in children across the south during the summer months. 

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The Tennessee Department of Health is reporting a 25 percent increase in RSV’s or Respiratory Syncytial Virus. Doctors said this usually comes in the form of mild, cold-like symptoms.

Dr. Sweeti Jain from Baptist Children’s Emergency Room said a lot of kids, especially young ones, weren’t exposed to anyone last year outside of their immediate families.

As mask mandates lifted and people started to gather again, Jain said there’s been an increase in these infections, especially in the south.

“Children under the age of two may not have seen the typical exposure to respiratory viral illness because of increased masking so they have a new immune system so they will certainly have more infections now,” said Dr. Jain.

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She said usually doctors see these infections in November to early spring but this year, Dr. Jain said they’ve seen an increase at Baptist Children’s ER from late April to May.

Dr. Jain said it can be serious for infants, and even lead to pneumonia but she said there are ways to prevent it.

“For very young children, so premature infants as well as patients with congenital heart disease, there is a prophylactic antibody that patients can be administered if they’re eligible,” she said.

She suggests parents watch out for cold-like symptoms and check for fevers because this trend could continue for the rest of the year.

“I do think we are going to see trends of increased respiratory infections throughout the summer, as well as a pretty harsh winter with respiratory viral illnesses,” said Jain.

If you have common cold symptoms or even really bad allergies, Dr. Jain recommends staying home, away from those most at risk and making sure you’re washing your hands.