HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters is experiencing the same surge in respiratory illnesses that has been sweeping the nation, with this week bringing our highest level of patients since COVID-19 pandemic peaks.

Our pediatric offices, urgent care centers, emergency department and hospital are all seeing much higher than normal volumes of children with influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and other viruses, so please be patient as waits will be longer. 

We're unable to make our physicians and other infectious disease experts available for media interviews at this time because of the clinical demand. However, this video of Dr. Christopher Foley, Chief Medical Officer at CHKD, explains what parents and caregivers need to know about these viruses, and how to monitor children's symptoms.

Most children with respiratory viruses can be treated at home with supportive care such as fluids, acetaminophen, and rest. 

If a child is lethargic, coughing, feverish, dehydrated, and doesn’t seem themselves, call your pediatrician. If they have labored or shallow or rapid breathing, or turn blue or gray around the lips, tongue or skin, call 911 or go to the emergency room. If a child is unresponsive, call 911.

Check this When to Seek Treatment link for more tips on when to seek medical care. Also, this Right Care Right Time CHKD link gives guidance on which level of care is needed for your child.

In emergency departments and urgent cares, the sickest children are seen first. That means that a child who comes in after you may be seen before your child. Please be patient with caregivers and administrative staff wherever you’re going for care. Hospitals and doctors' offices are experiencing staffing shortages, and are doing their best to care for all children during this surge of respiratory illnesses. 

This increase in respiratory illnesses is hitting earlier in the cold and flu season than usual. Children are gathered in school and other places, and pandemic masking requirements have been relaxed throughout the community. Because of pandemic precautions over the last few years, some children had not been exposed to some of these viruses, so they are more susceptible to these seasonal illnesses. 

Please consider flu and COVID-19 vaccinations and COVID-19 boosters for all eligible children and family members, and stay home if you, your child, or family member is sick. Measures like frequent handwashing and masking also can help reduce the spread of viral illnesses.

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CHKD is the only freestanding children’s hospital in Virginia and serves the medical and surgical needs of children throughout greater Hampton Roads, the Eastern Shore of Virginia, and northeastern North Carolina. The not-for-profit CHKD Health System operates primary care pediatric practices, surgical practices, multi-service health centers, urgent care centers, and satellite offices throughout its service region. In 2019, CHKD broke ground on a 60-bed, 14-story hospital and outpatient center on its campus to address the mental health crisis facing our youth. The new tower on CHKD’s campus in Norfolk opened to outpatient services in April 2022, and the first inpatient beds opened in October 2022. Learn more at CHKD.org.