MICHIGAN, USA — Hospitals are filling up with cases of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in West Michigan, which officials warn could lead to a variety of different issues for the region.
RSV is highly contagious and causes fever, difficulty breathing and cold-like symptoms. It causes a large number of children to be hospitalized each year.
The virus hits the area every year, but is especially concerning this year due to recent isolations from COVID-19.
Following pandemic safety protocols over the past two winters, RSV cases in Michigan have gone down, meaning children 3 and under have not been exposed to the virus.
For this reason, health officials are concerned the disease will spread to more children than usual this year.
The virus' peak season is between November and March, overlapping with a bulk of the influenza cases.
Dr. Jerry Evans, Medical Director of the Region 6 Healthcare Coalition, says pediatrics hospitals across the state and in West Michigan are at or near capacity due to the two diseases.
Here's how Evans says you can expect to be impacted by this:
- Wait times for emergency, urgent or primary care may be much longer than usual
- Ambulance transfers may be delayed
- Visitor restrictions may need to be reinstated or increased
- You may have a prolonged stay in the emergency department waiting for a bed in the hospital
He also provides the following tips to slow the spread:
- Use hand sanitizer whenever possible
- Wash your hands with soap and water frequently
- Isolate at home if you have respiratory symptoms
- Protect the very young and elderly by staying away if you are sick
- Be patient with the healthcare workers as we deal with another tough time
- Please utilize your primary care office for minor or non-emergent problems
- Urgent care is also available for non-emergent needs If you have an emergency, please call 911 or go to the emergency department as soon as possible.
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