LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – Hospitals across the Las Vegas Valley are already busy treating sick children with the typical winter viruses, and are prepared to see even more patients after holiday gatherings.

The latest report from the Nevada Hospital Association says local hospitals are in “good condition” with an 86% occupancy rate; there is a higher demand for children, as Clark County hospitals have a pediatric occupancy of 94%. “CDC is alerting providers that ‘[pediatric] beds are already nearly full, as they were last year, in some parts of the country,” the report stated.

Major provider Sunrise Hospital tells FOX5, demand has eased since Thanksgiving gatherings, but they do expect more patients after Christmas. UMC said its Pediatric ICU is 71% occupied, as more space freed up today.

Doctors at Dignity Health St. Rose Dominican campuses describe their pediatric units as busy, as many children have become ill during Christmas break with flu, COVID-19, RSV and common colds.

“Some viruses I can test for, some I can’t. I’ve seen a lot of flu, a lot of COVID, a lot of RSV. We’ve seen a lot of snot, a lot of fevers, we’re still seeing a lot of vomiting illnesses causing diarrhea and stomach pains. Still a big variety, but definitely a lot more cases, now that we’re right in the middle of respiratory season,” said Dr. Lyndsey Van Der Lan, Assistant Medical Director of the Siena Pediatric Emergency Department.

With pediatric demand increasing, when should you take your child to the hospital, and avoid a long wait? Dr. Van Der Lan said difficulty breathing, vomiting and inability to keep down liquids and lethargy are signs that an emergency room visit is necessary.

“If they can’t keep any liquids inside, that’s really concerning that they’re going to get dehydrated, especially the little ones. You want to come to the emergency department,” Dr. Van Der Lan said.

What if your child is just starting to get sick, or has a fever and still wants to play?

Dr. Van Der Lan says you have several options: you can start to treat at home with Tylenol, Ibuprofen, warm baths, Gatorade and Pedialyte. You can visit your local urgent care, and if you have questions over the weekend or the holiday, you can call your pediatrician. An on-call doctor should call you back.

“In the beginning of the illness, it’s okay to take some time to try to figure it out. Your pediatrician is always a good resource,” she said.

Dr. Van Der Lan also advises parents to avoid unwanted hospital visits after opening Christmas presents: doctors see many broken bones and sprains after getting a new bike, hoverboard or skateboard. After your child opens your present, make sure there is parental supervision, hand-holding and helmets and pads.


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