Hospitals seeing spike in respiratory virus among kids

Hospitals seeing spike in respiratory virus among kids
Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 6:49 PM EDT
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(WFSB) - Hospitals throughout Connecticut are dealing with a surge of respiratory illness in toddlers and young children.

This increase in patients is putting a strain on many facilities.

This virus, which is called Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), is not uncommon.

But what is uncommon and alarming, is the variety of virus and the frequency doctors are seeing it at this time of year.

RSV normally presents itself closer to the winter months.

It’s so common that doctors agree most children get it at some point of childhood, just not that severe, more like a cold or flu.

“We used to have a seasonality for the viruses, like the one right now, RSV, would come in December. It would go away and be followed by influenza and it would go away and be followed by another one, what has happened now, it seems they are coming all at the same time,” said Dr. Thomas Murray, Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Infectious Disease) at Yale.

This respiratory illness is most commonly seen in toddlers and young children.

Many in medicine believe the recent surge is a byproduct of COVID-19, not the illness, but the fact children have been more isolated over the past couple of years to protect against COVID.

“I think their immune systems haven’t seen the viruses that a typical child would have seen pre-pandemic so now they can get sick with one virus after another,” Murray said.

That multiplying is part of the problem.

While the increased volume of patients is not completely unexpected by the medical world, the recent surge has put a strain on hospitals and facilities.

Adding staff and makeshift facilities and calling in governmental help may all be considered to deal with the flood of patients.

“We have been preparing for this for a couple of years. We meet constantly to determine how to best utilize our staff, we will make sure every child is properly cared for so every option is on the table,” said Murray.

The conventional thought is things will subside in the next couple of months, however doctors urge parents to make sure their children are up to date on all vaccinations.

In addition, doctors urge that surfaces and toys are wiped and sanitized after use.

This virus, unlike COVID-19, does linger on and spread by physical contact with inanimate objects.