Suctioning clinic at St. Francis seeing unseasonal spike in RSV, congestion

Better Health & Wellness

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV, typically rears its head in the fall and wintertime in babies and young children.

Early symptoms include runny nose, decrease in appetite and a cough, according to the CDC. Each yaer in the US, an estimated 58,000 children younger than five are hospitalized with RSV.

Ascension Via Christi pediatrician Dr. Amy Seery saw an unseasonal case of the virus on Memorial Day, and since then has reported intermittent flare-ups in children.

“We don’t really know why this is happening now, other than the virus has been waiting for an opportunity to infect,” Dr. Seery said on Wednesday.

She believes large gatherings, minus last year’s protection of masks lead the virus to find young people to infect and “make up for lost time.” She anticipates another wave following Fourth of July gatherings.

The Suctioning Clinic at Ascension Via Christi St. Francis is used to seeing children in peak RSV season but has recently been treating those with congestion, RSV and bronchiolitis in this unseasonal flare-up.

With a prescription from the emergency room, your child’s primary care provider, or an immediate care provider, children battling extra congestion can get treated at the clinic, where the pediatrics team evaluates the child (must be 24 months or younger) and uses tubing to suction the back of their throats gently.

“Most kiddos are uncomfortable in the very moment of being suctioned, but in seconds or a minute or so, they calm back down and they’re like, ‘Oh I can breathe!” Dr. Seery said.

Last week, Autumn Boss brought her 22-month-old, Erin, to the clinic six times, Tuesday through Friday.

“It was unexpected to come and bring her here in June, but she feels better now,” Boss said.

Boss first learned of the Suctioning Clinic when Erin was three months old and hospitalized with RSV. A pulse oximeter showed infant Erin was hypoxic, not getting enough oxygen to her brain. After a day’s hospitalization, her follow-up treatment involved the clinic.

“Ever since knowing about it, noticing her struggling to breathe, we bring her here in hopes of her never having to be hospitalized ever again,” Boss said.

For the Boss family, that means bringing Erin in during the day and right before bedtime so she can sleep more soundly.

The clinic is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with a valid prescription.

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