An alarming surge in respiratory illnesses among children is exploding in New York and putting a strain on hospitals. Here are the warning signs to look for.

The CDC is worried cases of Respiratory Syncytial Virus, known as RSV, are exploding in over 30 states, including New York.

RSV Exploding in New York

Across the nation cases of tripled in the past two months.

"I’ve been doing this a long time," Connecticut Children's Hospital VP Dr. Juan Salazar told CNN. "I’ve been at Connecticut Children’s for 25 years, and I’ve never seen this level of surge specifically for RSV coming into our hospital."

Salazar said the level of children hospitalized with the virus across the nation is "unprecedented."

RSV Symptoms

ABC News/ Youtube
ABC News/ Youtube

RSV, is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms, but RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults, according to the CDC.

"RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia (infection of the lungs) in children younger than 1 year of age in the United States," the CDC states.

People infected with RSV usually show symptoms within 4 to 6 days. Symptoms of RSV infection usually include:

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

"These symptoms usually appear in stages and not all at once. In very young infants with RSV, the only symptoms may be irritability, decreased activity, and breathing difficulties," the CDC adds.

How To Protect Your Child


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RSV Severe Symptoms, What To Watch For

People with weaker lungs like infants and older adults may develop severe infections such as pneumonia, officials note.

Dr. Sankaran Krishnan, a pediatric pulmonologist at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital in Valhalla, New York, told Fox New York parents should look for these severe symptoms.

"High fever or breathing fast or having a persistent cough that does not get better, or the child is not able to eat or feed properly. Then the first step would be to seek medical attention," Krishnan said.

Doctors also say to look for fast or labored breathing, blue or discolored skin, dehydration and flared nostrils.

ABC reports there is an "alarming surge" in children hospitalized with respiratory illnesses. The most impacted group is children under the age of five. One children's doctor said it feels like "March of 2020."

"This is our March of 2020. This is the pediatric version of the pandemic. It has really tasked us," Advocate Children's Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Frank Belmont told ABC.

ABC News/ Youtube
ABC News/ Youtube

Doctors say cases are appearing earlier in the season and more rapidly than usual, putting a strain on hospitals.

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