RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — It seems everywhere you look, someone is coughing or sneezing. We’ve been in the midst of one of the worst seasons in years for the respiratory virus RSV.
Local doctors told CBS 17 on Monday that they’re seeing case numbers starting to come down, but the virus has already made a lot of Triangle kids very sick.
One-year-old Cyrus, one example of a child who contracted RSV in the Triangle, loves everything about the playground and his parents just love watching him play.
“You’ve got to hold them close because it just came so fast,” said mom, AW Shields, her voice shaking.
Just weeks ago, Shields said Cyrus and his 3-year-old brother, Kai, ended up in the hospital with RSV. Kai was hospitalized for 5 days.
“He had to be on oxygen,” recalled Shields. “He’d be ok one moment, and then he’d drop, and so second day, third day, fourth day is when I’m devastated because I’m like, ‘Is my kid going to be ok? Is he going to come out of here?'”
That’s when Cyrus was rushed to the ICU.
“You just feel powerless in a way you don’t normally feel,” said Shields.
Triangle hospitals have seen a lot of sick kids this fall.
“This has been the worst year for respiratory viruses related to hospitalization in the last few decades,” said Dr. Michael Steiner, Pediatrician In Chief for UNC Children’s.
Some Triangle children’s hospitals are still full or nearly full.
“We are still running in excess of 90 percent capacity both in our ICUs and our intermediate units, and our [emergency department] continues to see a steady stream of patients,” said Dr. Sameer Kamath, Chief Medical Officer for Duke Children’s.
However, doctors are starting to report that RSV case numbers and hospitalizations are beginning to slow.
“Our RSV levels are starting to decline, and when I say decline, we’re down to 100 cases a week instead of 180 cases a week,” said Jessica Dixon, Infection Prevention Specialist for WakeMed Health and Hospitals.
“I am crossing my fingers that this may have peaked, in our area at least,” added Steiner.
Still, doctors say families shouldn’t let their guard down yet.
“What we’re really starting to see over the past week is a rise in hospitalizations due to the flu,” said Dixon.
Doctors say some children in the Triangle are also in the hospital with COVID.
Whatever is going around, Shields urges parents to keep a close eye on their children for any concerning symptoms such as lethargy, refusing to eat or drink, and difficulty breathing.
As scary as it was to see her boys in the hospital, she’s grateful they got the help they needed to get better, and she’s thankful for the support of the community during such a difficult time.
“We’re so grateful for our community that has supported us,” said Shields, “Sending things, creating a GoFundMe. People just came through in ways we had no idea.”