RSV cases are still on the rise

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Hospital rooms and hallways have seen an influx of patients coming through their doors, and many are dealing with viral respiratory illnesses.

“We are seeing some flu and all typical varieties of viruses. The season started a little earlier, which was not started early last year, sort of in the follow-up from the pandemic. The viral season seems to have shifted a little bit, but we are seeing sort of RSV spreading like wildfire,” said Dr. Megan Baldes, a Pediatric Emergency Care Unit with Essentia Health.

The Respiratory Syncytial Virus, also known as RSV, has been circulating among young children and some teenagers.

“During a season of covid where everyone was still home, we saw 20 cases of hospitalized RSV patients in the pediatric floor in the ICU. Now, this month alone, we have seen 34 cases that have needed to come in and be supported either on the floor or in the ICU.”

Hospitals like Essentia are doing all they can to respond to these cases, as Dr. Baldes shares, “Our clinics are seeing more visits, our ERs are seeing more patients, and we are seeing that select set of patients who, for reasons, can not go home. They might not be eating or drinking enough. Typically, they might have trouble getting enough oxygen into their blood. And so they come in so we can help them with breathing support.”

Dr. Baldes shares some information that parents are informed about when it comes to telling the difference between symptoms of RSV and the common cold.

“Things that we tell parents to watch out for are the noisy breathing that gets worse and worse. You might see belly breathing where the belly starts to sort of extent expand out during a breath, sucking it along the ribs, really sort of head bobbing is something that we see in our small infants. So those are all signs of increased work, of breathing flaring of the nostrils. The other things we look for are any sort of paleness, kind of a gray or blue color.”

If your child starts to display any of those symptoms associated with RSV, it is recommended that you take them to the hospital to be evaluated.