East Texas doctors' offices flooded with sick kids

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Most parents of sick children work around the clock to get their children well. Physicians are right behind them. Both groups are increasingly aware that 10 children died of flu during the second week of 2014.

Health providers are seeing lots of sick kids.

"Has he had his flu vaccine yet?" Susan McDonald, a pediatric nurse for the East Texas Community Health Center asked a parent Tuesday.

"Yes," the parent replied.

"Okay. Great," McDonald said.

It's become the standard question from health providers to parents about their kids.

McDonald joined others in the health community in trying to raise the awareness of what's going around.

"A lot of colds, your typical colds," McDonald said. "We're seeing kids with bronchitis and flu."

And some are sicker than others.

"A lot of very, very sick kids in the hospital," McDonald said. "I mean really sick kids where we've had to transfer some of them to Houston because they've been so sick we can't even keep them here."

It's often difficult deciding when it is time to take a child to a doctor.  One grandmother of two is on the right track. She looks for ...

"A fever and lack of energy, lethargic," said Beverly Dushane, a grandmother. "Loss of appetite."

"Do they have tears? Do they have moist mucus membranes, you know, spit bubbles in their mouth?" McDonald said. "Are they urinating? Cause if you don't have enough fluid going in, you not going to have enough going out."

The directors at Kids Unlimited Learning Center said everyone has stayed well for the most part. They attribute it in part to all the disinfectant used each day.

"The teachers wipe down and wash down their classrooms," said Charlotte Stanaland, the assistant director of the Kids Unlimited Learning Center. "In the infant and toddler rooms, the toys are bleached and disinfected every night. And then we have a janitorial service that disinfects and bleaches the building top to bottom basically every night."

Physicians say prevention is important because the illnesses going around now can make children seriously ill, and no one wants that to happen. Most all the respiratory illnesses, including the flu, are viruses. Physicians remind parents that antibiotics don't treat these kind of infections. Sometimes they can even make symptoms worse. Check with your health provider before heading to the medicine cabinet.

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