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Local hospitals have limited beds amid RSV surge among children

Posted at 10:32 PM, Oct 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-18 22:32:18-04

INDIANAPOLIS — There have been several warnings from doctors about a respiratory virus hitting kids much harder and earlier this season.

Peyton Manning Children's Hospital tells WRTV they are seeing a complete 180 from just two weeks ago when it comes to RSV patients, and they are warning parents of the dangers of RSV.

Doctors say Peyton Manning Children's Hospital is running tight on beds, and have recently been at capacity several times, and are shifting a lot of kids in and out.

"It's very full. It's been very tight for beds around here," Dr. Christopher Belcher said.

Dr. Belcher is a pediatric infectious disease physician at Peyton Manning Children's Hospital and said he is seeing a large influx of patients with RSV.

"It just explodes like that," Dr. Belcher said. "That ramp-up is really amazing how fast these things can go, how fast the virus can spread amongst the community of kids."

Just two weeks ago Peyton Manning Children's Hospital officials told WRTV they weren't seeing too many inpatient cases.

It's not just Peyton Manning seeing an influx in RSV cases, Riley Hospital for Children is seeing it too.

Riley Children’s Hospital officials said they have expanded capacity at their downtown ED and PICU as well as the Riley Children’s Health PICU at IU Health North - Carmel to care for patients.

"It's scary," said Bree Serevado whose 7-week-old son Gannon is currently at Riley with RSV. "He is on a vent right now and is sedated. So, really that's the only thing they say they can really do besides management for pain and to just keep him comfortable."

Gannon has been at Riley since Sunday, along with many other kids.

"Day by day it was just figuring out like it felt like he wasn't going to get better for a while, and every day he was getting worse, not better," Victoria Reish said.

Her son Lucas was just released Monday from the hospital after dealing with RSV.

Lucas' parents Josiah and Victoria noticed he was breathing fast and had what appeared to be catching by his lungs.

"He was getting breathing treatments because of his wheezing, he was also getting some steroids to help with his wheezing as well," Josiah Reish said.

The Reish family works in the health field and says they knew what to look for.

Now they want parents to keep an eye on the surging cases of RSV hitting children.

"I was just thankful that we got a bed somewhere that I know was going to take great care of him," Haylee Woodcock said.

Her 3-week-old son Jackson was admitted to the hospital after she noticed similar symptoms the Reish family saw — including congestion.

"Definitely scary," Woodcock said. "It was heartbreaking for sure especially seeing him hooked up to everything."

All of these parents aren't alone. Doctors say this year is particularly unusual with RSV.

Doctors say normally RSV season is November through April with peak bidding around Valentine's Day.

There are several things doctors say you can do to protect your kids.

Riley Hospital for Children shared these tips for parents:

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your upper sleeve, not your hands
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid close contact, such as kissing, shaking hands, and sharing cups and eating utensils, with others
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs and mobile devices
  • Don't smoke around young children. [Found to be a risk factor for bad bronchiolitis in young infant.]
  • Keep young toddlers with respiratory symptoms away from young infants.

The CDC says symptoms of RSV include:

  • Runny nose
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Wheezing

The agency said young infants with RSV may not show as many symptoms.

They could just be more irritable, have decreased activity, and have difficulty breathing.