FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Parkview health’s pediatric team recently shared with WANE 15 that they’re seeing triple the amount of RSV cases this year compared to recent years.
Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is having impacts across the country, according to data from the CDC.
Dr. Jayesh Patel, a pediatric intensivist at Parkview, told WANE 15 that there’s been an explosion of pediatric RSV cases at their hospital in the last two to three months.
So much so that they’ve had to add beds outside of Parkview’s Women’s and Children’s hospital inside Parkview Regional Medical Center.
“Somehow we are able to manage them, but it is extremely difficult, especially for the emergency room. Not every child that comes through the emergency room needs to be admitted, but they are extremely busy. They are somehow able to manage it, [there are] a lot of difficulties, but they are doing the job,” Dr. Patel said.
Like others have said, Dr. Patel believes the rise in RSV cases is a result of masking and social distancing during the pandemic. When those started to go away, the viruses started coming back with a vengeance, he said.
While anyone can get RSV, it can have a much bigger impact on infants and the elderly.
“We are constantly getting patients that some of them are severe enough that they need to be in the intensive care unit,” Dr. Patel said. “Some of them are on a ventilator because they cannot be managed with simple therapies.”
The good news is that with most of the pediatric patients, Dr. Patel says they’re feeling better after a few days in the hospital and are able to be sent home with medication.
He said an RSV case will usually start with nasal congestion, mild coughing, a low-grade fever, and children will slow down or stop eating. Those symptoms will continue to get worse and the child will become dehydrated, have difficulty breathing, and experience intense coughing.
Dr. Patel said that parents should get their child to their primary care doctor or to an ER if the symptoms seem to become unbearable for the child.
In less severe cases, he suggests lots of liquids. Dr. Patel added that if your child can’t handle formula, then Pedialyte can help get them hydrated.
With germs spreading the way they are, he adds that the best way to decrease the spread is frequent hand washing. Dr. Patel emphasized that is essential to help keep kids healthy.