At the Allina Clinic in Ramsey, pediatrician, doctor Eric Barth says he has seen more cases of Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV, in his patients.
"Patients are presenting with fever, cough, congestion, runny nose, headache, those types of symptoms and it's really hard to know whether we're dealing with COVID or Influenza or RSV."
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the number of patients hospitalized with RSV in the Twin Cities, jumped over the past week. They reported that 75% of hospitalizations are infants, less than a year old.
"Right now the hospitals are full of patients with RSV,” Barth said. “So the children's hospitals in particular have very low capacity, and they're operating, a lot of times with limited staffing, which makes it even more challenging."
Typically, most children have been exposed to RSV by the age of two. There are no vaccines for it. Doctors say the COVID-19 lockdown likely had a detrimental effect.
"Now we've got kids who, again, have not had exposure to these viruses for the past couple of years,” Barth said. “And now that we're returning to more normal activities they're getting hit with these viruses and it's hitting them pretty hard."
To protect ourselves, we need to cover our cough, and wash our hands frequently.
Doctors with young patients are now bracing themselves for the cold and flu season, with a triple threat of influenza, COVID-19, and RSV.