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New York City parents concerned about respiratory illnesses impacting children in China

NYC parents concerned about respiratory illnesses impacting children in China
NYC parents concerned about respiratory illnesses impacting children in China 01:59

NEW YORK -- A surge of respiratory illnesses among children in China is swamping hospitals, and here in the Tri-State Area it has some parents asking pediatricians what they need to be doing to protect their families.

"I feel like respiratory illnesses are always going around, you know? When winter comes, it's like, buckle up," said Upper West Side resident Kate Pallardy.

READ MOREOn Call with Dr. Kumar: What's causing latest surge in RSV, and how to stay healthy

A seasonal spike in sickness is welcome to Pallardy's world. Everyone has been ill, she says, from her daughter, Goldie, to her 12-year-old son, Anders.

As he ran around a park on Tuesday, he's better now after recently coming down with something.

"I think got the flu, a cold, all kinds of sicknesses," Anders said.

"It's already started and I think once you start Thanksgiving, it just keeps rolling," Pallardy said.

"We are seeing increased respiratory illnesses right now, both adults and children, and that's expected with the winter season and holidays," said Dr. Vino Palli, CEO of Mi Doctor Health.

READ MOREDoctors cautioning parents, children of potential flu-COVID-RSV combo during holiday season

What Palli told CBS New York is different this season. Some New York City parents are worried about news from China, where hospitals are swamped with kids diagnosed with pneumonia and other respiratory infections.

"Parents are asking questions about the situation in China," Palli said. "We don't need to panic right now based on what we know, but we definitely need to be more vigilant and there's a lot of surveillance being done by the CDC and our scientists at different university hospitals, looking at the current situation in China and, of course, if something crops up we're going to take a look at it."

Doctors say always a good idea are the proven medications and measures, including wearing masks, frequent handwashing, and proper ventilation.

"Especially when you're in a setting where you're exposed to these infections, it's not a bad idea to wear a mask, cracking a window or doing things outdoors," Palli said, "and If you are having symptoms, stay home. And if you're getting sicker, talk to your doctor, get tested, get treated before heading out to your family for the holidays."

This time in China, research indicates children are getting sick with known pathogens. Children there may be extra vulnerable because widespread masking and lockdowns during the pandemic shielded them from infections.

Pallardy said she'll live by some simple rules.

"Eat healthy, be outside, get fresh air," she said.

She said using common sense and knowing the right precautions should pull her family through the holidays with good health intact.

Experts say the wave of sickness currently in China is reminiscent of what happened after U.S. pandemic lockdowns ended. 

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