Para flu virus making rounds across Tampa Bay area, affects children quickly

(WFLA) – The flu is one of the many viruses going around, but not the only one you should be looking out for.

“I think within the past five weeks, all four of us have been sick. My husband had the flu. I had an upper respiratory infection. I’m still recovering from that. My son has been sick, he’s been home from school twice this week,” said Ellie Hirsch.

Hirsch, a mother of three, is frustrated that her household seemingly can’t get better.

“Every week it is something different. These kids are getting a little bit better, then they are getting sick again,” said Hirsch.

Hirsch’s latest concern with her son is the para flu. Doctors say it’s the time of year for it.

“Para influenza virus is primarily a respiratory virus. It just didn’t affect many other systems than the respiratory system,” said pediatrician Dr. Lou Romig.

This virus is scary because it jumps on children quick.

“Para influenza virus is one of those that comes on relatively quickly. Your child may seem to be fine and then in the middle of the night wake up with that barking cough,” said Dr. Romig.

Doctors urge you to pay close attention to your child’s breathing.

“If you see their nostrils flaring or you look at their chest and they’re sucking the muscles in between the ribs, those are called retractions, or if they seem to be breathing more with their belly than with their chest, those are signs the child should be evaluated,” said Dr. Romig.

Hirsch is grateful she got her son checked out quickly and she urges other parents to do the same.

“With everything going on and around our area right now, you cannot be too sure. Call the doctor! You’re not being annoying. That is their job and it’s your job as a parent to make sure your child is safe,” said Hirsch.

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