DES MOINES, IOWA — Iowa hospitals and clinics are again filling up with long lines of waiting patients as the common cold, flu, RSV, and more pass around the community – especially among children.

Blank Children’s Hospital says it registered 165 child patients in a 24-hour period over the weekend. Wait times at walk-in clinics and doctor’s office’s have been well over an hour at many facilities in the last week. Dr. Wendy Woods at Blank Children’s Hospital says the traffic of sick kids is historic right now.

“Emergency room waits are beyond what we’ve ever experienced, in our history,” Dr. Woods says, “Wait times are long and many families are leaving without being seen. Avoid exposing your children if you can, call your doctor’s office, call your clinic. Don’t just go to urgent care don’t go to the emergency room department.”

Mercedes Wilson, of DeSoto has experienced one sick child since November 11th. Her 9-month-old son Colson had a high fever back on November 11th and he was diagnosed with RSV. He is doing better, but he can’t go home until he starts eating.

“The hardest thing is just seeing your child this way, and knowing that you cannot take the pain. That’s been the hardest on us, not being together as a family and that’s been extremely hard,” said Wilson.  “He needs to start gaining weight first before we can go home, possibly will have to send him home with the feeding tube.”

Dr. Woods advises parents to keep very young kids, toddlers, and even elementary-aged kids at home when possible to keep them from being exposed to even more sickness.

“For those with toddlers, so if you don’t have to go out, if you don’t have to be around other children that are sick, stay home, “said Woods. “Just a good safe hygiene for those kids who are older, don’t send them to school sick, don’t just give kids Tylenol and hope that they make it through the day so you can make it through your workday.”

Woods said that it is critical, to stop the spread of these respiratory illnesses.