Concern with flu, serious illness on the rise in Kansas

EL DORADO, Kan. New information shows Kansas is seeing higher levels of flu activity, now just one step below what the Center for Disease Control (CDC) considers "widespread."

Caleb Grove, a physician assistant with Susan B. Allen Immediate Care in El Dorado, says the list of illnesses going around is not short. This is the time of year when the flu and similar illnesses peak and Kansas is still considered in the "moderate" range. But already in 2019, medical facilities like Susan B. Allen have seen several flu cases, Grove says.

Flu numbers from Wesley Medical Center show that so far this year in Wichita, a majority of these flu cases are people 19 or older.

There's more than the flu going around and Grove says this time of year, keeping a close eye on your children is especially important.

"For parents who have young kids, some symptoms to look out for are difficulty breathing, especially during the winter season," Grove says. RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) is going around more."

This virus causes inflammation to the respiratory tracts in young children, making it difficult for them to breathe..

Last month, Via Christi Health pediatrician, Dr. Amy Seery, said RSV mimics the common cold and spread easily. Children with a history of heart problems or lung problems are especially at risk.

If you or your child feel ill, Grove says it's the sooner the better when it comes to going to see a doctor.

"I would say if you feel sick and have any doubt on how severe it is, you don't know what to do, come on in and be seen. It's our job. We want to take care of you," Grove says.

One local family especially hit hard by illness has an infant hospitalized with RSV and pneumonia.

Te'a Frieze says her six-week-old son, Kolby, is on life support at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City She says he's been fighting RSV and pneumonia for almost a week.

Frieze didn't hesitate to take her baby to the hospital when she noticed something was wrong and she encourages other parents to have the same urgency.

"It's a matter of minutes where something could go wrong like it did with Kolby," she says. "It's a matter of minutes. If we didn't make it to the hospital when we did, we probably wouldn't have him right now."

A GoFundMe page is established to help Kobly and his family through the infant's fight to recovery from illness.