'I have not seen this level of just everything': Pediatrician concerned over rise in various illnesses

Flu sick
Posted at 5:54 PM, Nov 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-15 19:05:44-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Pediatricians say they're worried about the influx of flu, RSV, strep, and pneumonia right now.

One concern is that this could indicate a particularly bad flu season, but a Lexington pediatrician is also concerned about access to a common antibiotic for treating various illnesses.

"I've been a pediatrician now for 22 years, and I have not seen this level of just everything," said Dr. Elizabeth Hawse with Commonwealth Pediatrics.

That level of everything she refers to is quite the long list.

"We're seeing a lot of flu, a lot of strep, a lot of RSV, still seeing COVID," she said.

Hawse says her team is seeing just about everything. She tells LEX 18 her office was busy in 2009 when H1NI was an issue, too.

"It's just really unusual to see it in October or November, especially flu this early," she said. "Flu usually peaks after the holidays; it tends to get worse."

Hawse says her office first noticed this around the first week of October. In the last month, several school districts around Kentucky closed doors for at least a day due to ongoing illnesses.

"We saw it maybe drop down for a day, maybe a day and a half, but then it started again," she said.

Pediatricians often turn to Amoxicillin as an antibiotic, but Hawse says even access to that has been a challenge.

"It has been over a week since I have been able to dependably prescribe Amoxicillin," she said.

Pharmacists even say they've been busy filling prescriptions for various illnesses.

"Flu, RSV, things like that, definitely we've seen an increase in prescriptions," said Clarence Sullivan, owner of The Pharmacy Shop on Southland Drive in Lexington. "With any uptick in a category like children's flu or adult flu, that makes you stay pretty busy."

Sullivan says he has seen more people coming in for flu shots lately. Hawse encourages people to get it if they haven't already.