Albany Medical Center Physicians Issue Guidance About Pediatric Respiratory Viruses in Light of High Volumes
- Hospitals throughout the country, including the Bernard & Millie Duker Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center, are seeing an increase in pediatric respiratory viruses.
- Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. If your child has mild symptoms of RSV, they can typically be managed at home, or with guidance from a pediatrician. It typically does not require emergency care.
- Difficulty breathing, eating, or drinking may require additional medical care at an urgent care or emergency department
Emergency rooms across the country, including The Massry Family Children’s Emergency Center at Albany Medical Center, are seeing a high volume of patients with various respiratory illnesses, including Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).
Albany Medical Center physicians hope to educate parents about RSV symptoms, and what actions they can take if their child needs medical attention.
“RSV is a respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. It’s spread through droplets from a cough or sneeze, or by contact with a surface that has the virus on it,” said Debra Tristram, MD, chief of the division of pediatric infectious disease at the Bernard and Millie Duker Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center.
“Common symptoms of RSV include runny nose, coughing, sneezing, fever, wheezing, and decrease in appetite and should not require emergency treatment,” Dr. Tristram said. “However, as with any respiratory illness, if your child is having difficulty breathing, or breathing rapidly or hard, or are having trouble eating or drinking, then it is best to seek further treatment.”
Doctors at Albany Medical Center say this season’s trend is unusual. This year, doctors say they began seeing RSV cases in the summer and they believe it could peak before the holidays, compared typically to January or February.
This trend is causing a high volume of patients in emergency departments.
Doctors say not all patients need to visit the emergency department. “Most mild cases can be managed at home with over-the-counter medications to reduce fever or help with coughing, or with guidance from your pediatrician,” said Dr. Tristram. “If your child is having difficulty breathing, worsening respiratory symptoms, or if you have concerns after hours, then it is recommended to visit an urgent care or the emergency department.”