Recently, RSV infections have increased. It attacks both adults and children, but in the case of the youngest it can have a devastating effect on the body. Children often need hospitalization and this is visible in the hospital in Kielce, where the occupancy is so high that there are no beds.
Kacper’s sad face is not the only symptom of the disease that his young body has to fight. The test gave a clear answer – the boy had the RSV virus. – It started with hoarseness. On the first day there was mainly high fever and hoarseness, and on the second day the cough started – says Mrs. Małgorzata, Kacper’s mother.
Kacper will be able to recover at home, but many children are not so lucky. Three-month-old Ignaś was taken to hospital. – I have two sons and they defended themselves from it, and Ignaś is smaller, so it’s worse – says Mrs. Małgorzata, Ignaś’s mother.
It is young children who are now most at risk of infection with the virus. – We appeal for the smallest children to be protected, i.e. for preschool children to stay at home – emphasizes Ilona Derkowska, MD, a pediatrician from the Polanki Children’s Hospital in Gdańsk.
Children often become infected in nurseries and kindergartens. The virus is transmitted through the respiratory route, which means that wards are full of RSV patients, even infants. – He was monitored by the clinic every day, but his breathing was getting worse, he had bronchioles, so we ended up in the hospital – says Ignaś’s mother.
Pediatricians at the hospital in Kielce are currently fighting mainly such cases. – When it comes to infectious disease wards for younger children, the pulmonology ward, the occupancy rate is 100%, and in the younger children’s ward, 70% of the beds are occupied by children suffering from RSV – says Elżbieta Kołodziej from the Provincial Specialist Children’s Hospital in Kielce.
Symptoms of RSV
The symptoms caused by the RSV virus are: fever, runny nose, cough, but this may be just the beginning. – When the child is breathing very heavily, when the breathing is faster, when it is difficult for the child to drink because breathing requires so much effort that he or she has no strength for anything else. There does not always have to be a high fever and there does not always have to be a severe cough. Breathing difficulties are the moment when you need to go to the hospital – says Dr. Ewelina Gowin, a pediatrician from the Wielkopolska Pediatric Center.
The RSV virus also affects adults, but children, especially the youngest, suffer from it much worse. – An infant’s airway is very narrow and the final section of the airway, which is most exposed, is the diameter of a hair. Therefore, clogging of the respiratory tract with secretions, which is the biggest problem of infection, results in shortness of breath – explains Derkowska.
Therefore, hospitalization is often necessary. Children need respiratory support, but sometimes, in addition to treatment, they also need to be fed through a tube. – In the course of bronchiolitis, we experience shortness of breath and the child decompensates, becomes dehydrated, does not eat, and has difficulty eating. This poses the greatest threat to infants, emphasizes Kołodziej.
Children and their parents generally have to spend about a week in the hospital. However, not only the RSV virus is now attacking Poles. – We have cases of COVID-19, we have isolated cases of influenza and we also have a lot of streptococcus infections – adds Kołodziej.
Most often, the RSV epidemic occurs in the autumn and spring period and lasts until around April.
Main photo source: TVN24