NEW YORK (PIX11) — Health authorities are warning of an increase in children admitted to local hospitals with trouble breathing.
The concerning rise in respiratory illnesses is hitting earlier than normal, doctors told PIX11 News. New Jersey mom Amanda Loder knows what parents are currently going through.
“It’s definitely scary. I would not wish it on anyone,” Loder said, calling it one of the scariest moments of her life last year.
Her daughter Charlotte, who was 7-months-old at the time, was diagnosed with respiratory syncytial virus or RSV. She was given a home nebulizer, but she very quickly got worse and landed in a pediatric intensive care unit.
“There were points when we had to up the oxygen levels because she was getting worse,” Loder recalled.
Now, for the second year in a row, cases of RSV and other respiratory illnesses are hitting sooner and becoming more common. Connecticut Children’s Hospital is considering building a tent to expand pediatric hospital beds.
New York City hospital systems, including NYU Langone, are not seeing that sort of surge, but Dr. Arun Chopra, with Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU, said there are more children getting sick, and this seems to be a result of coming out of the pandemic.
“As people are taking the masks off, we are seeing more respiratory viruses, and the usual baseline of resistance that the population has is probably somewhat depressed,” the chief of pediatric service said.
As for what parents should look for to know if this is something they can handle at home versus seeking medical intervention, he said:
“Usually in two or three days they’re back to themselves. The things that say ‘go to your doctor’ are they’re not eating well, not drinking well, not peeing as much as they normally do. All are warning signs — or they’re breathing really hard, using the muscles in their stomach to breathe. If they’re really struggling or color changes like blueness around the lips, seek medical attention.”
Fortunately, Loder, whose daughter is now a year and a half, made the right call and got her help. After six days in the pediatric intensive care unit, Charlotte was feeling much better. Her mom’s advice to other parents going through this now is to trust their gut.