HOUSTON — Hospitals across the country are seeing a spike in cases RSV, leaving doctors scrambling to find open beds. According to Texas Health and Human Services, there are 28 pediatric ICU beds available in our region.
Dr. Michael Chang, a pediatric infectious disease specialist with UT Health Houston and Children’s Memorial Hospital was on the 411 Friday to talk about the surge in cases.
“We’re seeing more RSV cases now than even in a typical winter,” he said. “So parents of older kids may recall a long waits for urgent care in emergency departments and we’re seeing that across our region. We have capacity, but we are definitely very busy with RSV and also the flu.”
Symptoms in older kids may be similar to a respiratory virus, things like a runny nose, cough and sore throat, said Dr. Chang. But he said for younger children, it could be more dangerous.
“Kids under two years of age, this virus can get into the lower lungs and cause pneumonia or bronchiolitis,” he said.
There’s no vaccine available, but Dr. Change said there are several vaccine candidates.
It’s spread by droplets and close contact, so Dr. Chang says the best bet is social distancing, masking up and keeping your kid away from other sick children.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, people who have been infected with RSV usually show symptoms within 4-6 days. Those symptoms include
- Runny nose
- Decrease in appetite
You can read more about RSV, including how it's cared for, on the CDC's website.