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Is this flu strain worse for children and the elderly than others? Experts say

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Flu cases are rising across the Chicago area as hospitals report overwhelming increases in pediatric hospitalizations, but tensions behind the current flu cases may be exacerbating things. Do you have?

Hospitals are already reporting worrying pediatric hospital admission rates, with intensive care unit beds dropping to single digits due to a combination of respiratory viruses and influenza. Some health experts fear the post-Thanksgiving surge could lead to more expansion for already struggling hospitals.

“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.”

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

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

Some experts believe that current strains of influenza hit 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.

“The majority of viruses detected so far this season have been influenza A(H3N2),” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its statement. Weekly updates on November 18th.

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.

“More H3N2 usually makes the flu season more severe, so it lasts longer, affects more children, and causes more severe illness,” said Pediatrics at Children’s Health Care Atlanta. Dr. Andy Shane, a physician and infectious disease expert, told CNBC.

The DuPage County Department of Health revealed on Tuesday that there were days when there were no beds available for critically ill children.

“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.”

The county fears the situation will only get worse after the holidays.

“RSV is not a new virus. Flu is not a new virus either. But we’ve seen both earlier cases and more serious cases,” Ayala told NBC Chicago. “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.” It leads to concern that

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.”

Park Ridge’s Advocate Children’s Hospital is one of many regional pediatric hospitals dealing with unprecedented demand.

Dr. John Howard, the field director of the pediatric emergency room, told NBC Chicago on Tuesday:

Emergency room wait times can be as long as 10 hours. Advocate Children’s also opened a new “Fast Track” area on November 7th. This accommodates patients with poor vision who may be able to go home the same day.

“Part of the waiting room was repurposed to make room for the patient beds,” says Howard.

So what should you think about if you are planning to get together this week?

“If you don’t feel well, that is, you know first and foremost to stay home,” Karen Ayala, executive director of the DuPage County Health Department, told NBC Chicago. You don’t need to know what’s going on, especially if it’s a respiratory disease.”

While COVID testing remains important to prevent the spread of COVID, it will not help stop the spread of RSV or the flu.

Dr. Carly Senescu, pediatric hospitalist at Edward Elmhurst Health, said: “So if a child is coughing, it’s contagious. A child blowing his nose, licking a toy, or sharing it with someone is all contagious. “It’s not as structured as it is with COVID. So I think it’s the same thing. Stay home when you’re sick. You have symptoms.” Please wear a mask if you can.”

Health officials are also urging people to get both the flu and a bivalent COVID booster shot.

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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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