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Kern County medical professionals on how to keep kids safe from viruses

23ABC’s Breanna Polk has tips to prevent the spread of viruses and how the community can help support the flow of traffic in emergency rooms.
Child in Doctor's Office (FILE)
Posted at 7:20 PM, Nov 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-24 22:23:01-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — As we find ourselves in the holiday season medical professionals say flu season and other viruses are circulating at an all-time high. And that is why it is important to know how to protect yourself and your loved ones and when you should seek emergency medical attention, especially for children.

Catherine Harker, nursing director of pediatric services at Memorial Hospital says they are experiencing a dramatic increase in pediatric patients needing high-level care for respiratory illnesses such as RSV, influenza, and COVID-19, among others. She adds they are currently seeing more than 150 children per day, and that is why they want to inform parents about what could be seen either at urgent care or a pediatrician's office.

“Things that you need to look for that would indicate that you need to come to the emergency room is if your child is having trouble breathing, they’re breathing faster than normal or harder than normal, they probably need to be seen in an emergency room. If they have really high fevers, or if their skin is turning blue we definitely want to see them here.”

Harkers says cough and runny nose are symptoms that don’t have to be seen in the ER but rather by a primary care doctor to alleviate some of the traffic that medical professionals in the ER are experiencing. She goes on to explain some general safety tips to protect your household.

“The things we can do to protect ourselves and protect our kids and our community really are washing our hands often and I know that sounds silly but that really is the best way to protect ourselves and the kids in our community from these viruses. If we are coughing, cover our cough, clean high touch surfaces as often as you can.”