There has been a significant increase in the number of children admitted to hospitals across 33 states with respiratory illnesses caused by a virus known as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). In 25 states, the number of reported cases has gone up by more than four times. This puts a lot of pressure on hospitals, and some are so full that they are running out of beds.
Doctors at the Connecticut Children’s hospital have reported an increase in the number of patients suffering with RSV. According to Dr. John Brancato, who spoke with CBS News, the whole emergency department is now over capacity, and the hospital is contemplating setting up a tent on the front lawn in order to accommodate the overflow.
The state of Connecticut is even considering sending in the state’s National Guard to help with the situation.
“We’re having patients in hall beds,” Brancato said. “We’re using our orthopedic room. We’re using other treatment rooms as much as possible to take care of everybody.”
In most years, the number of RSV cases peaks between December and February; however, in the children’s hospital in this particular month, there are more RSV cases than any other type of respiratory disease, including COVID-19.
Further south, at Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, about half of the intensive care unit beds have been taken up by kids suffering with RSV.
“It’s going to be a rough winter,” Dr. Daniel Guzman, who works at the hospital, told CBS News. “I mean, we’re already seeing our numbers spike over the last few weeks with over 550 E.R. visits per day.”
Parents Lindy Green, who is just four months old and the child of Zoe and Jeff Green, is reportedly receiving treatment for RSV in the intensive care unit. They were worried that she was suffering from something more serious than simply a cold, so they brought her to an urgent care facility for treatment.
The signs and symptoms of RSV are similar to those of a cold; however, physicians have advised that parents keep an eye out for indicators of respiratory stress, such as when a child’s nostrils flare up when they breathe or when their skin pulls in against their ribs.
The likelihood of a busy flu season is shared by medical professionals. They are encouraging individuals to get their flu vaccinations as soon as possible because, while it won’t stop you from having the flu, it could make your symptoms less severe so that you wouldn’t have to go to the emergency department if you did become sick.