Children’s hospitals around the country are filling up with RSV and other respiratory patients

Published: Oct. 21, 2022 at 9:46 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A surge in young patients with RSV or flu like symptoms are keeping Children’s of Alabama busy right now. Dr. Alicia Webb is an ER doctor there.

“We’ve certainly been seeing it a lot earlier this year and in very high numbers,” Dr. Webb said.

Children’s is seeing a wide range of cases. RSV in children typically looks like a cold, but for infants and young children, it can be dangerous.

“Cases vary. RSV and flu often cause children to have trouble breathing and some congestion, some runny nose, some fevers all the way up into those kids who are needing oxygen or needing some support for their breathing,” Webb said.

RSV began circulating in the summer around the country. It typically peaks in the winter. Some heath experts say the virus may be spreading earlier than usual due to less covid restrictions in place. It’s likely due to a number of factors according to Dr. Webb including a few strains of the virus that seem to be hitting kids a little harder than previous years.

As long as your child doesn’t have any underlying medical problems then a lot of viral symptoms can be treated at home, but if your child is having trouble breathing or not being able to speak in full sentences you need to get them checked as soon as possible.

“If you are concerned your child is getting significantly dehydrated or their eyes are looking dry, the inside of their mouth is looking dry and they are not peeing at least once or twice a day those are signs that we might need to be getting medical attention either from your pediatrician or emergency room,” Webb said.

Some children’s hospitals in the northeast are overflowing with respiratory patients and having to call in the National Guard for help. That’s not the case here, but Children’s of Alabama is prepared for those scenarios just in case.

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