A surging respiratory illness is overwhelming hospitals across the country as patients suffering from other infections like the flu, coronavirus and rhinovirus are admitted, according to Axios.

Driving the news: Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is a common virus that usually peaks during wintertime — but this year, it began spreading in the summer months.

  • Hospitals like Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford and Children’s Hospital Colorado have seen the number of RSV cases spike, per the report.
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Details: RSV mimics symptoms of a cold, but for infants, younger children and older adults, it can become serious and lead to bronchiolitis, an inflammation of the small airways in the lung, or pneumonia, an infection of the lungs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Hospitalization may be required in cases where the patient has trouble breathing or is dehydrated. Each year, RSV is behind an estimated 58,000 annual hospitalizations.

A cause for concern?: COVID-19 has posed many challenges to RSV’s normal cycle, as Dr. Sankaran Krishnan, a pediatric pulmonologist at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, New York, pointed out.

  • “Because of the pandemic and people isolating themselves from each other, several of these young children did not develop an immune response to these ordinary, common, everyday viruses,” she told Fox affiliate WNYW.
  • In most cases, the infection is nothing to be worried about, though there are some symptoms to look out for. “High fever or breathing fast or having a persistent cough that does not get better, or the child is not able to eat or feed properly,” Krishnan said. “Then the first step would be to seek medical attention.”
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