Families should beware of RSV. Cases are rising abnormally early in the season and filling up hospitals.
The flu and cold season is fast approaching but hospitals are noticing an early rise in cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in young children. RSV is common among both adults and children but presents differently. In healthy adults, it causes only common cold symptoms. In children and older adults, it can cause complications such as pneumonia or bronchiolitis and can be life-threatening. Children who are premature infants, younger than 6 months old, have chronic lung diseases, congenital diseases, neuromuscular disorders, or weakened immune systems are at the greatest risk of severe illness and complications from RSV.
Cases of RSV are abnormally high for this time of year. RSV most commonly occurs during the late fall and winter months. This year healthcare providers have already seen a high number of RSV cases in young children, starting as early as summertime.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), yearly in the United States, RSV causes an estimated,
● 2.1 million outpatient visits for children younger than five years old
● 58,000 hospitalizations for children younger than five years old
● 100 to 300 deaths in children younger than five years old
Several hospitals are at or close to capacity limits because RSV cases are abnormally high at this time. Some hospitals are asking for help from the National Guard and FEMA to help them with capacity issues. Dr. Laura Romano from Cook Children’s Hospital told ABC News, “Last year, more people were wearing face masks and children were more likely to stay home while sick. This year, parents are sending their children to daycare and school for the first time following two years of the pandemic…Children who haven’t been previously exposed to respiratory viruses are getting sick.”
Symptoms of RSV include runny nose, decreased appetite, cough, wheezing, irritability, decreased activity, decreased appetite, and issues breathing. Prevent infection and spread of RSV by following standard infection control guidelines such as washing hands often, wearing masks, avoiding contact with people who are sick, covering sneezes and coughs, keeping surfaces clean, and staying home when you or your kids are sick.
1. Romo, V. (2022, October 24). Children’s hospitals grapple with a nationwide surge in RSV infections. NPR. Retrieved October 25, 2022, from https://www.npr.org/2022/10/24/1130764314/childrens-hospitals-rsv-surge
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, August 22). RSV Trends and Surveillance. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 25, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/rsv/research/us-surveillance.html
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, December 18). RSV in infants and Young Children. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 25, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/rsv/high-risk/infants-young-children.html