While rhinovirus and enterovirus caused ER visits to increase over the summer months, an “unprecedented rise” in RSV among the nation’s children is now causing great concern in hospitals throughout the U.S.
Hospitals, unprepared for the number of RSV patients at this time of year, are becoming overwhelmed – with a reported ¾ of pediatric beds being used.
The spike is likely exacerbated by the transition to cooler seasonal temperatures, which coincided with schools reopening, a significant drop in mask-wearing, and waning virus-specific immunity as a result of the COVID pandemic and quarantine.
But the biggest problem remains: despite medical literature saying otherwise, once RSV is identified as the culprit – critical thinking ceases in hospital rooms, and patients are treated with supportive care only.
What many in the medical field are not recognizing is that the disease caused by the RSV virus results from an interaction between the virus’s inherent cytotoxicity and each child’s unique immune response.
Atopic Children May Be Predisposed to RSV
Inflammation is the body’s mechanic, more or less. When we catch a cold, it prompts cough and congestion that clears our airways, removes germs, and places us on the path to recovery.
Unfortunately, this defense mechanism overreacts in some children. This predisposition is referred to as “atopy,” and refers to those individuals with higher degrees of reactivity. Atopic children often experience an infamous triad of conditions – allergies, asthma, and eczema. They also appear to have more colds when, in reality, they have more symptoms.
While respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infects all children at a young age, studies have alluded to the predisposition of atopic children to greater RSV disease.
According to a study by Pingsheng Wu and Tina V Hartert published in the National Library of Medicine: “An alternate explanation is that there are genetic factors that impact patterns of immune response to infectious agents, which are also linked with asthma. More likely is that both mechanisms are true and important in asthma development; genetic factors impact patterns of immune response to infectious agents such as RSV, and RSV is also a causal environmental agent in asthma development”
Many children who present to the ER do so because their unique inflammatory response made them disproportionately symptomatic.
Culex Wellness helps to identify these atopic individuals long before severe illness occurs. By getting to know our patients, their families, and the social and environmental context of their medical histories, we can initiate treatment at an earlier stage, helping to mitigate hospital visits and ease the burden on pediatric wings and their medical teams.
Is your child atopic and predisposed to RSV? Call us at (410) 656-4775 to learn more or schedule your initial consultation at www.culexwellness.com.