US Reporter

US Sees a Surge in Cases of Respiratory Illness Among Children, Straining Pediatric Hospitals

The incidence of respiratory infections among young people has been seen in the United States. As a result, many healthcare facilities in the nations are overcrowded with parents and children seeking medical attention for their children, frequently experiencing difficulties breathing and other associated ailments.

In the meantime, pediatric hospitals are running out of room for patients. Doctors explain that this is not attributable to the coronavirus but rather to other factors such as rhinovirus, enteroviruses, and rhinovirus.

According to health experts, respiratory ailments in youngsters are often reported as the winter months begin.

However, the event happened earlier than expected and at a higher intensity than they had previously documented.

“Rates are as high as 25% of those [who have] tested positive for RSV. That is quite unusual for October; we would typically start to see higher rates in November, December and January,” said a doctor from the Duke Children’s Hospital, Dr. Ibukun Kalu.

RSV, a frequent childhood respiratory infection, is typically harmful to young children. However, symptoms have worsened in older children. As a result, they require specialized care.

“We’ve been strapped, and hospitals have sort of been functioning at the edge of how they can function. We’re seeing more people requiring help and fewer beds available, largely due to staffing needs. This combination is going to create more and more problems,” added Kalu.

“As we see more viral infections in kids, we will see a similar pattern in adults. The reason for more severe illnesses with some of these viruses is the smaller airways in kids. Because the viruses get in there and cause such a high amount of inflammation, they are unable to clear out a lot of these secretions or get air in.”

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Health facilities were warned by the CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning to healthcare providers throughout the country a month ago about the risk of “increases in pediatric hospitalizations in patients with severe respiratory disease who also tested positive for rhinovirus (RV) and/or enterovirus (EV).”

Health authorities were encouraged to be more observant and vigilant in evaluating symptoms in youngsters and determining whether their health necessitates acute care.

Breathing difficulties and limb weakness are among the symptoms. Children may also develop a cough, fever, and runny nose, according to Kalu.

“It is good for you to contact your provider and talk through symptoms. And be aware that if you see any of those symptoms worsening — specifically, if a child is having issues breathing, or is constantly throwing up, or unable to drink or eat — it would be important to ensure they get seen to assess if they need oxygen support or if they need help with maintaining dehydration,” Kalu added.

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The CDC released in September:

The purpose of this Health Alert Network (HAN) Health Advisory is to

1. Notify healthcare providers, laboratories, infection control specialists, and public health departments about recent increases in severe respiratory illness requiring hospitalization in children,

2. Urge healthcare providers to consider EV-D68 as a possible cause of acute, severe respiratory illness (with or without fever) in children,

3. Advise of the potential for an increase in AFM cases in the upcoming weeks, and

4. Provide CDC recommendations to healthcare providers, laboratories, infection preventionists, public health departments, and the public.

Photo Credit: Christophe Ena

Source: NPR

Opinions expressed by US Reporter contributors are their own.