LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Area hospitals have had more pediatric patients admitted for COVID-19 in recent months as the Omicron variant continues to spread and general case numbers and hospitalizations increase.
University Medical Center Children's Hospital saw an approximate 66% increase in kids hospitalized for COVID-19 in December. According to a spokesperson for the hospital, 20 pediatric patients were admitted for COVID-19 in December compared to 12 total admitted in November.
UMC doctors also have noticed a "recent increase" in cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome among children who contracted COVID-10.
Sunrise Children's Hospital also said they have seen an increase in pediatric patients admitted for COVID-19, but it was "slight." However, pediatric COVID-19 patients are admitted in low numbers, and those who are admitted tend to have pre-existing medical conditions, said a statement from the hospital on Friday.
Pediatric Emergency Medicine Physician at UMC Children's Hospital Dr. Kreg Burnette said of the pediatric patients who come to UMC with COVID-19 symptoms, "very few" need to be admitted and can manage symptoms like fever or congestion with over-the-counter medications.
On the other hand, kids experiencing serious respiratory symptoms are evaluated for whether they need to be hospitalized. Some require a ventilator. Typically, they recover enough to go home in 1-5 days after they are admitted, Burnette said.
Parents should be aware of the symptoms of multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MISC), which can develop four to six weeks after a child had COVID-19, Burnette said. Common symptoms include fever that can last several days, red eyes, rash and irritability.
If a parent suspects their child has MISC, they can talk to their doctor about treatments, which include medication.
UMC provided the following statement on Friday:
UMC would like to remind community members about the importance of protecting the health of young children, many of whom are not yet eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine based on their age. UMC offers COVID-19 vaccinations for everyone 5 and older, in addition to booster vaccines for people 16 and older. As the highly transmissible omicron variant continues to spread across the world, we urge community members to get vaccinated as soon as possible. The COVID-19 vaccines continue to serve as our best defense against severe illness and death. Community members can easily schedule their COVID-19 vaccination appointments online at www.umcsn.com/COVIDvaccine.