What to know about RSV as hospitalizations have increased throughout Michigan

Cases of RSV are spiking across the country leading to a shortage of pediatric hospital beds.

Pediatric hospitalizations are up across the country, including here in Michigan, because of respiratory viruses like RSV.

Children typically get about six viruses a year when they’re young. A medical expert said if these kids have had zero viruses for the last year or two, they are more vulnerable since they have no protective immunity.

Viral illnesses like RSV generally pass between older children and adults as common colds, impacting infants differently.

“It’s the smallest babies that are the most impacted by RSV. It’s usually if they’re under 6 months but typically under a year. You know you’ll see them breathing really rapidly, and sometimes you see their little nose, the nares of the nose flaring out a little bit, occasionally, they’ll even be grunting. If your baby is grunting, you need to go to a children’s hospital,” said Chief medical officer for Children’s Hospital of Michigan Rudy Valentini.

Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment or vaccine for viruses like RSV.

“The likelihood of getting RSV under a year of age is about 20%, so about 1 in 5 are going to get this,” said Valentini. “A lot of them end up getting quite sick and they can be very, very sick and end up in the intensive care unit, so prevention is really where we want to be.”


About the Author:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.