Now that kids are back in school, chances are an inevitable virus is about to invade your formerly germ-free household. Fall/winter sickness just kind of comes with the back-to-school territory unfortunately.
Thankfully, one pediatric nurse is looking out for all us parents when it comes to child sickness, giving some tips for what to do when our kids comes down a virus and signs to look out for that should green light a trip to the doctor.
“Our pediatric ICU has totally exploded about the past three nights and all of the new admissions are respiratory illnesses leading to respiratory failure,” TikTok user and pediatric nurse @alittlestitioushere says in her now-viral video.
“These kids are on 20 to 30 liters per minute of oxygen high flow and some of them are on BiPAP, which is like a ventilator but without the tube in your throat.”
She then breaks down some of the more popular illnesses she’s seeing in the ICU, including some old favorites like RSV.
“We are seeing RSV. We're not seeing flu yet. We're seeing a lot of rhino-enterovirus, and we're seeing Human metapneumovirus. That's a mouthful. Human metapneumovirus can get pretty serious. Put you on the ventilator, especially if, you know, you're like immunocompromised. So yeah, that's some really bad s**t going on right now. We got some really sick kids,” she said.
Next, she has some advice for parents of sick kids. First, keep kids home when they are sick and away from other kids. This is easier said than done, of course, with schools being sticklers about truancy and parents having little to no time off from work.
“Nobody gives a rat's ass about perfect attendance. Why is that a thing? Why is it a thing? Nobody has ever put that on their LinkedIn profile that I know of,” she said.
She also recommends not bringing newborns out in public and, should go without saying, do not let anyone kiss your newborn child.
She also goes over the basics like hand-washing and using hand sanitizer after being in public.
As for parents who already find themselves with a sick kid at home, she has some signs to look out for to help you know when it’s time to take your kid into the doctor. First, your child should not be struggling to breathe.
“Any muscles that are extra that shouldn't be used for just normal breathing like sucking in between the ribs, breathing hard with the belly, sucking in above the collar bones,” she said.
“You know just anything that just looks like you know more so than usual. That's something that you don't want to wait until like the morning. They need to go to urgent care, the ER. Don't let that get ahead of you.”
Secondly, keep an eye out for a lethargic child. Kids are resilient and can usually keep up with the motions even when they’re not feeling their best. A tired, worn out kid is a sure sign that they need to be seen by a health professional.
“If we felt the way they did, we wouldn't get out of bed. Kids will just go and go and go. So, if your kids starting to get tired out, they need to be seen in the ER,” she said.
Last, the TikTok nurse recommends parents keep an eye out for “nasal flaring.”
Nasal flaring occurs when the nostrils widen while breathing which is often a sign your kid is struggling to get enough air.
“Just make sure it's not because they're so congested in their nose,” she noted. “Saline drops in the nose and suction them out real good. If they're old enough, let them use the netty pot with distilled water, things like that just get all that snot out.”
As she says in her video which has been viewed more than half a million times, ‘tis the season to be wheezing!
While keeping our kids from getting sick seems to be nearly impossible as school ramps up and colder weather creeps in, at least we can build a library of knowledge about what to do and what to look for when our kids inevitably bring home a virus.