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‘A day with no empty beds’: Hospitals struggle to help sick children as virus surges

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As Chicago-area hospitals fill up for the Thanksgiving holiday and flu and respiratory syncytial virus cases surge, beds to care for critically ill children are reportedly unavailable some days. .

“Hospitals and clinics are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of people with respiratory illnesses such as influenza (flu), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and COVID-19,” said DuPage County. The Department of Health said in a statement Tuesday. “Children are particularly affected. Severely ill children are seeking treatment in hospitals and are experiencing wait times. They will be transferred to another medical facility.” Some kids need to.”

“There are days when hospitals serving nearly one million residents in DuPage County don’t have a free bed for a critically ill child,” the county said.

“RSV is not a new virus, nor is the flu. Told. “And yes, we’re worried…because we’re going to be getting together and spending more time indoors than outdoors. It’s all going to get worse before this gets better.” This leads to concerns about

At the same time, Advocate Aurora Health said all facilities are implementing a “visitor limit policy” to “reduce the spread of COVID, flu and other seasonal illnesses.”

A hospital spokesperson told NBC Chicago that the move was “due to a significant increase in flu activity.”

Health experts in Chicago and across the country have expressed concern that since October, “explosions” of respiratory viruses such as respiratory syncytial virus, influenza, and COVID have begun appearing this fall and winter, with the number of respective cases continuing to rise. I’m here.

as of friday, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “Seasonal influenza activity is rising nationwide,” with high levels reported in Illinois.

Dr. Jennifer Theo of the Chicago Public Health Service said last week, “Influenza activity continues to rise, which is accompanied by an increase in outpatient clinic visits, ER visits, and hospital admissions of children with flu-like illness. doing.

The Illinois Department of Public Health told NBC Chicago on Tuesday that pediatric ICU bed availability has dropped to just 5 percent statewide.

“We’re a little overwhelmed with RSV cases, probably about three to five times the number of normal cases,” said Dr. Lamar Hasbrook, chief operating officer of the Cook County Public Health Department.

But flu cases are also surging in many hospitals, and some experts believe the current flu strain is hitting children and the elderly more than previous strains.

According to IDPH, H3 is currently the most prevalent strain of influenza in the state, with H3N2 being found in some cases. Similar trends have been reported nationwide.

Dr. Jose Romero, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, reportedly said the strain has historically been associated with more severe flu seasons for children and the elderly. Stated.

A Chicago doctor expressed concern about the pressure on hospitals due to the recent rise in illness.

“It’s still November, but RSV is already raging. And there are other less newsworthy viruses that are surging right now just because it’s respiratory virus season.” Chicago Public Sanitation Bureau. “If you see a big spike, you’ll definitely see a flu and COVID spike. Plus, there’s a potential shortage of adequate hospital capacity, especially for children.”

Arwady noted that children are less affected by COVID, but are particularly affected by influenza and RSV.

What is her advice for heading to a holiday get-together?

Experts are pushing for continued vaccinations for both flu and COVID booster shots.

“If you have people you care about, especially young children, and you’re worried about RSV, be sure to wash their hands, if your child can wear a mask, if anyone has cold symptoms… symptoms like, Wear a mask…whether it’s COVID or not, it’s about keeping the germs to yourself,” Alwadi said. The number one rule is to stay home when you’re sick. If you’re going to open up a little bit on Thanksgiving and go somewhere warm for Thanksgiving, the only thing you do outside is COVID. But it’s all about limiting the risk of all other respiratory viruses.”

She added that taking a COVID test before gathering may also help, especially if you have cold-like symptoms.

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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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