SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Children’s hospitals around the country are filling their beds to capacity.

The respiratory bugs are striking early, contributing to packed hospitals this fall. Respiratory infections include enterovirus, and rhinovirus but mainly RSV. RSV is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Infants suffer the most from RSV, which can lead to more serious illnesses like bronchiolitis and pneumonia. It’s typically easy to treat but can be dangerous for small children, or people with pre-existing respiratory issues.

Baystate Health recommends visiting a pediatric emergency department if your child experiences any of the following:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dehydration
  • A fever that medication doesn’t reduce
  • Suffers from other underlying medical conditions such as asthma that increase risk for complications

Dr. John O’Reilly is a pediatrician with Baystate Health, he told 22News they have seen an increase in cases locally over the last two weeks. Most children recover on their own but Dr. O’reilly explained to us, the smaller the child, the higher their risk.

“The kids that we worry about are the youngest and tiniest kids. Basically kids that are premature kids with congenital heart disease, kids that have BPD or other lung diseases,” said Dr. O’Reilly.

Dr. O’Reilly said the best prevention measures are the same as COVID-19, face coverings and social distance. If your child is sick, keep them home and if you don’t see those severe symptoms, treat it like you would a common cold.

Connecticut Children’s Hospital in Hartford has been overcapacity due to more and more children being admitted for RSV. The hospital is considering help from the National Guard and FEMA, by expanding its capacity with outdoor tents.