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St. Pete pediatrician seeing peak in flu and RSV patients

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PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – It’s that time of year – flu and respiratory syncytial virus season.  

The Florida Department of Health reports Influenza cases have spiked across the state, especially in the Tampa Bay area and in children. 

“We do get concerned because the kids are usually the harbors of these viruses and they tend to spread them,” said St. Petersburg pediatrician Dr. Jeffrey Hirschfield. 

Dr. Hirschfield tells 8 On Your Side, he has seen a peak in patients come in with the flu virus or RSV symptoms

“When you see these illnesses going around the community, they tend to spread pretty quickly. It may be through their older siblings,” said Hirschfield. 

This season, sadly, there have been two children who have died from the flu in the state of Florida.  

According to the Florida Department of Health, children especially those under the age of two and those with certain underlying medical conditions, have a higher risk for complications from influenza infection.

Vaccination has been shown to reduce a child’s likelihood of dying from influenza by 60%. 

So how do you keep your little one protected? 

Dr. Hirschfield says while getting the flu vaccine should be your first line of defense, he has a few suggestions if your child is under the weather. 

“The A-B-C’s. Airway, breathing and circulation,” said Hirschfield.

Dr. Hirschfield’s first recommendation is a blue ball syringe. 

“We always use a blue ball syringe and saltwater spray to clean out the babies and infants from birth. It also applies when kids have a respiratory  illness,” said Hirschfield. 

Hydration is also key to beating a virus this season. 

“They should be drinking water, eating bananas and having crackers.” 

Dr. Hirschfield also suggests a tepid bath to help regulate your child’s body temperature. 

“If we are doing all those things in concert, and doing it at an early time point, our recovery times are much less,” said Hirschfield.   

Health officials say it’s still not too late to protect yourself against various strains of the flu. To find a place to get a flu vaccine, check with the Florida Department of Health vaccine locator

For more information about Dr. Hirschfield click here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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