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

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

Hospitals in 33 countries are recording a dramatic increase in the number of sick children a respiratory virus called respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Cases have more than doubled in 25 states, straining hospitals — with some facilities so overwhelmed they’re running out of beds.

At Connecticut Children’s Hospital, doctors said they have been hit by an uptick in RSV cases. Dr. John Brancato told CBS News that every inch of the emergency room is filled, and the hospital is considering setting up a tent on the front lawn to deal with the overflow.

The state of Connecticut is even considering bringing in the National Guard.

“We have patients in beds in the lobby,” Brancato said. “We use our orthopedic room. We use other treatment rooms as much as possible to take care of everyone.”

RSV cases usually spike from December to February, but this month, Children’s Hospital has more cases of RSV than any other respiratory illness, including COVID-19.

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

“It’s going to be a tough winter,” Dr. Daniel Guzman, who works at the hospital, told CBS News. “I mean, we’re already seeing our numbers jump in the last few weeks with over 550 emergency room visits a day.”

Parents Zoe and Jeff Green said their four-month-old daughter, Lindy, is in intensive care with RSV. They took her to the emergency clinic because they were worried she had more than just a cold.

RSV symptoms they are similar to coldsbut doctors said parents should watch for signs of respiratory distress, if their child’s nostrils flare as he breathes or if his skin pulls against his ribs.

Doctors also expect an active flu season. They’re asking people to get a flu shot right away—while it won’t prevent you from getting the flu, it might make your symptoms mild enough that you don’t need to go to the emergency room.

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