Health officials sound alarm with rising flu cases, RSV, respiratory illnesses striking kids

It’s an alarming combination — an early flu season hitting now across the country that doesn’t seem to have peaked yet.

“There’s a lot of people who think that the increases that are happening now are because there’s been a lack of exposure over the last couple of years,” said Dr. Brendan Carr of Mt. Sinai Health.

RSV cases are on the rise in children – and COVID, while milder, is still going around too.

Flu numbers have nearly double in the last week as it spikes faster and earlier, leading to 23,000 flu hospitalizations nationwide.

“Here we are again thinking about and planning for a surge that will be really hard for us to absorb over the next couple of months,” added Dr. Carr.

Experts are advising parents to contact pediatricians before taking their children to the ER. That is exactly what Camille Bourdel did when her 6-year-old son got a bad cold that triggered an asthma attack. They took him to NYP Methodist Hospital.

This was the first serious asthma attack that he had that we felt that we couldn’t handle it in our household and it had to be treated professionally,” said Bourdel.

When they got to the hospital, they were told there were no pediatric beds available. It meant having to wait for another young patient to be discharged.

“All the rooms are maxed out. There’s a lot of children in the hospital right now that have respiratory viruses,” added Bourdel.

Pediatric hospital bed occupancy across the United States is currently at 78 percent – the highest level in two years.

Thankfully in Brooklyn, 6-year-old Thibeaut got the treatment he needed at the hospital in time.

“If he does well, we’ll have him back home tomorrow,” said Bourdel.

The increases are alarming for this family – especially knowing that so many kids are so sick so early in the season.

“As a parent, you feel helpless when you see your child having difficulty breathing and using all his muscles that he would need to breathe normally,” added Bourdel.

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