Science

“It’s going to be a tough winter”: Hospitals overwhelmed with pediatric patients with respiratory virus

Dramatic increase in the number of children suffering from this disease in hospitals in 33 states respiratory virus called respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Cases have more than doubled in 25 states, putting pressure on hospitals – with some facilities so overcrowded, they are running out of beds.

At Connecticut Children’s Hospital, doctors said they were slammed with the rise in RSV cases. Dr. John Brancato told CBS News that every inch of the emergency room is full, and the hospital is considering putting up a tent on the front lawn to handle the overflow.

The state of Connecticut is also looking to bring in the National Guard.

“We are patients in hall beds,” Brancato said. “We are using our orthopedics room. We are using the other treatment rooms as much as possible to take care of everyone.”

RSV cases usually peak from December to February, but this month, there are more RSV cases in a children’s hospital than any other respiratory illness, including COVID-19.

Further south, about half of the ICU beds at Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, are filled with RSV patients.

“It’s going to be a cold winter,” Dr. Daniel Guzman, who works at the hospital, told CBS News. “I mean, we’re already seeing an increase in our numbers over the past few weeks with more than 550 ER visits per day.”

Parents Zoe and Jeff Green said their 4-month-old daughter, Lindy, is in the ICU with RSV. They took her to an urgent care clinic because they were concerned that she had more than just a common cold.

RSV Symptoms are like winterBut doctors said parents should watch out for signs of respiratory stress if their child’s nostrils are swelling when they breathe, or if their skin is pulling in toward their ribs.

Doctors are also anticipating an active flu season. They’re telling people to get their flu shots now — while it won’t stop you from getting the flu, it can lighten your symptoms enough where you won’t need to go to the emergency room.

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