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Respiratory infections and flu cases among children rising ahead of holidays

Health Talk: Flu season
Health Talk: Flu season 05:17

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pediatricians are seeing an increase in pediatric cases of respiratory viral infections and the flu, Allegheny Health Network says.

In a news release on Wednesday, Allegheny Health Network provided guidance for parents and caregivers ahead of the holiday season, saying it anticipates "these numbers will continue to rise this month as we gather and travel for the holidays."

Allegheny Health Network said weekly respiratory syncytial virus cases have nearly tripled since early November and Allegheny County is reporting the state's highest flu totals. 

"Our AHN outpatient pediatric offices have seen an increase in cases of respiratory syncytial virus and influenza, which tracks with what we're seeing nationally," said Joseph Aracri, chair of the Allegheny Health Network Pediatric Institute, in the release. 

Allegheny Health Network said RSV can be dangerous for infants and older people, with symptoms in children including a runny nose, appetite decrease, cough, fever and wheezing.

Guidance from Allegheny Health Network includes treating the symptoms, recognizing when to head to the emergency room, relying on a pediatric team for support and practicing preventative measures. 

"While it's important to follow preventive measures and practice good health hygiene, it's just as important to maintain normal routines and encourage socialization around the holidays," Aracri said in the release. "This season is an opportunity for children to enjoy spending time with family, friends and loved ones, while also participating in festive activities at school or daycare."

Click here for more information and guidance from Allegheny Health Network. 

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