RSV cases, hospitalizations on the rise in the Mahoning Valley
Hospitals across the country are seeing a surge in a common respiratory illness that can cause severe breathing problems for babies and toddlers.
It's called RSV and it's spreading quickly in young children throughout the nation. 21 News checked in with local childrens hospitals to hear what's happening locally.
The Mahoning Valley also continues to see a rise in RSV cases in young children. "It can cause anything from the common cold in adults and older children to sort of more breathing difficulties, specifically in younger children," Bigham added.
RSV primarily affects children 2 years and younger. Bigham said they're seeing a rise in cases and hospitalizations unusually earlier in the year. "This year is very near some of our worst RSV seasons," Bigham said.
"Last week alone, we had nearly 100 admissions of children with RSV," Bigham said. "Most children with RSV Bronchiolitis don't need to be admitted to the hospital. So, if we're seeing 100 kiddos admitted to the hospital, you can imagine there's thousands and thousands of kids in the community who have RSV."
Bigham told 21 News the staff at Akron Children's continues to work tirelessly to make sure there's enough room for pediatric patients with RSV in their facilities.
"There's absolutely pressure on the system right now to have enough capacity for those kids," Bigham said.
This is the #1 virus Akron Children's is seeing in kids, almost double the current influenza cases locally.
Bigham said they hope to up their influenza vaccines so they don't see a bad influenza season mixed with an already harsh RSV season.
Since there is no vaccine for RSV, Bigham said simply practicing good hygiene is the best way to prevent the illness.