Health experts urge parents to take precautions as nation sees surge in pediatric RSV cases

Doctors say the surge in illnesses among children is putting a strain on pediatric hospitals.

News 12 Staff

Oct 24, 2022, 1:18 AM

Updated 582 days ago

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Health experts are advising parents to take precautions as pediatric beds in intensive care units are more full than usual due to a surge in respiratory viruses, also known as RSV.
Doctors say the surge in illnesses among children is putting a strain on pediatric hospitals.
When it comes to keeping her 9-year-old niece healthy, Elizabeth Pimentel says it's a family affair.
"We tell her about the precautions and things like that, like to clean her hands, and to be careful with coughing... and to cover her mouth. Not just protect herself, but the other kids as well," Pimentel says.
RSV began circulating in the summer, although it usually peaks in winter.
Dr. Sankaran Krishnan specializes in pediatric pulmonology at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla.
"What has happened here, unusually, is that in August, September and October, we're seeing numbers of patients with these respiratory infections matching or exceeding what you would see in the fall to winter season itself," Krishnan says.
California, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Connecticut are being especially hard hit, as overwhelmed hospitals try to handle the surge in RSV patients.
So far, there is no similar increase of such cases in the Hudson Valley, but Krishnan warns to stay alert.
"If I'm the parent of a young child, how concerned should I be? Absolutely no reason to panic. Children commonly get respiratory infections like colds and head colds. It's only when you have a child with an underlying problem, like born prematurely or with chronic lung disease or an immune problem," Krishnan says. He adds using common sense and being proactive is key is guarding children's health.
"Washing your hands, staying away from large, crowded places, masking when appropriate, keeping up with your childhood immunizations and with the fall approaching, making sure you have your flu shot, things like that," Krishnan says.
Doctors say if your child has symptoms including high fever, a persistent cough or difficulty breathing, don't wait, see a medical provider right away.
"If I'm the parent of a young child, how concerned should I be? Absolutely no reason to panic. Children commonly get respiratory infections like colds and head colds. It's only when you have a child with an underlying problem, like born prematurely or with chronic lung disease or an immune problem," Krishnan says. He adds using common sense and being proactive is key is guarding children's health.
"Like washing your hands, staying away from large crowded places, masking when appropriate, keeping up with your childhood immunizations and with the fall approaching, making sure you have your flu shot, things like that," Krishnan says.
Doctors say if your child has symptoms including high fever, a persistent cough or difficulty breathing, don't wait, see a medical provider right away.


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