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Doctors seeing increase in pediatric flu cases

Flu cases have been ramping up across western Massachusetts, particularly in children.
Published: May. 18, 2022 at 2:39 PM EDT|Updated: May. 18, 2022 at 4:49 PM EDT
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EAST LONGMEADOW, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Western Mass News has been noticing an increase in flu cases, particularly among children. This comes as the Food and Drug Administration has approved the COVID-19 booster for kids aged 5 to 11.

Flu cases have been ramping up across western Massachusetts, particularly in children. Western Mass News spoke with Dr. John Kelley of Redwood Pediatrics in East Longmeadow, who said they’re still seeing a handful of COVID-19 cases in their office, but flu is certainly on the rise.

“We’re definitely seeing an uptick in influenza, mostly Type A…kind of an odd time of year to see it, but we’re seeing it. It is what it is. Most people are doing fine. They’re not having any serious illness at least with the influenza,” Kelley explained.

This uptick in pediatric flu cases comes on the heels of an emergency use authorization granted by the FDA that would allow kids ages 5 to 11 to receive Pfizer’s COVID-19 booster. Kelley told us he recommends children get the booster at least five months after completing the first two doses of the vaccine. However, as far as testing goes, Kelley said his practice seems to be noticing higher numbers of positive flu cases than COVID-19.

“But that’s just a little bit of the sampling of the population. A lot of folks, at least for COVID, are doing home tests and we don’t even know about that even if they are positive,” Kelley added.

Kelley said they have made strides in how pediatricians are able to treat kids who do test positive for influenza

“If their symptoms started within 24 hours, then it is worthwhile to treat them with an antiviral. The brand name is called Tamiflu, so we will prescribe that…but if it’s been more than 48 hours, it’s found not to be helpful. It doesn’t really shorten the length of illness,” Kelley said.

He also urged parents to get their kids in for testing as soon as they start experiencing symptoms.