‘You feel so helpless’: Rise in respiratory illness nearly doubles children’s hospital admissions | Tech US News


A Winnipeg mother is thanking staff at a children’s hospital after both of her young children contracted a common childhood virus, sending her son to the emergency room three times.

Breanne MacLennan said she wasn’t sure at first if her 2-year-old son had respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) when he started showing symptoms.

“For my little one, it was definitely worse than the average cold. He was sick for 10 days, he didn’t eat for three or more days, he had a high fever that would come and go,” she said.

Things got worse when MacLennan’s six-week-old baby also started getting sick.

“He was struggling a little bit to breathe. We leaned him back to lay him down and he was kind of gasping for air,” she said.

“It just kept getting worse, so I ended up in (the emergency room) that night.”

MacLennan brought her child to the emergency room three times over the next few days.

“The third night we were there all night and then they admitted us to the hospital because he just wasn’t doing well,” MacLennan said.

“When we were in the hospital he was put on oxygen and then because he just couldn’t breathe to feed himself, we decided to put him on a feeding tube,” she added.

MacLennan said her son started showing signs of improvement on the seventh day of his illness.

“You feel so helpless. You just want to breathe for them, you just want to pump air into their lungs, and you just can’t. It’s terrifying.”

A spokesperson for Shared Health said in an email to CTV News that admissions to Children’s Hospital for respiratory illnesses like RSV are higher than normal.

“There were 183 patient visits to the Children’s ED (Friday), the third time this week that daily numbers have climbed above the 180 mark in the last six days. This week’s patient numbers at HSC Children’s Hospital are up by about a third, when an average of 139.5 patients were seen per day. (Friday’s) number is nearly 50 percent higher than the daily average for November 2021,” the email said.

It goes on to say that the pandemic has disrupted the normal seasonal cycles of RSV, influenza, gastroenteritis, coxsackie and other viruses.

“Now all of these viruses are spreading around the same time after being dormant for more than two years, resulting in more emergency department visits and more patient admissions,” the email said.

MacLennan said she’s thankful things weren’t worse for her son: “We’re very, very lucky that in the grand scheme of RSV, it wasn’t the worst-case scenario.”


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