Flu cases rising along with other respiratory illnesses. Doctors weigh in on the spike

At the end of October, there were nearly 14,000 cases of RSV reported in children across the United States.

John Paul Image
Friday, November 11, 2022
Flu cases rising along with other respiratory illnesses
"Right now we are seeing a confluence of many different viruses circulating," said Dr. Christina Johns, senior medical advisor at PM Pediatric Care.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- After years of declining flu rates, influenza cases are starting to spike once again this year. It comes along with rising cases of other respiratory illnesses like Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) that have caused concern at hospitals.

At the end of October, there were nearly 14,000 cases of RSV reported in children across the United States.

"Right now we are seeing a confluence of many different viruses circulating," said Dr. Christina Johns, senior medical advisor at PM Pediatric Care.

Dr. Johns said that hospitals are seeing rising cases of the flu virus, mainly among children. That could lead to more spread among vulnerable populations.

SEE ALSO: RSV cases in small children are spiking across Philadelphia region, doctors warn

Doctors are warning that RSV cases are spiking earlier this year and inundating pediatric hospitals.

"There are a lot of children who are sick right now. And when there are more children sick overall, that means those who are higher risk are more likely to have severe illness," Dr. Johns said.

According to the CDC, Pennsylvania is seeing a moderate level of flu spread. While the spread in New Jersey is considered 'very high,' the spread remains low in Delaware, but hospitals are gearing up for what could be coming.

Some hospitals put out the call for more nurses to help with the months ahead.

"Expanding access to a larger pool of nurses is just one of many proactive measures Nemours has taken along with increasing the number of available appointments in clinics and telemedicine," Nemours Children's Hospital said in a statement to Action News on Friday.

Doctors said the spikes come as fewer people are social distancing or wearing a mask. They urge everyone to get the flu shot to prevent further spread, which helps to prevent taxing the emergency room.

"Remember that we have also seen a bit of an exodus of health care personnel across the last couple of years as well. So put that together and we really do have a crisis on our hands," said Dr. Johns.