WICHITA, Kan. — Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is on the rise across the county. The virus is surging in kids and taking up hospital beds quickly.

RSV is an extremely common virus. Nearly everyone is exposed to the pathogen by the time they’re 2 years old. In healthy adults and older children, RSV typically causes mild, cold-like symptoms.

El Dorado native Ally Helferich will admit she did not take the threat of RSV seriously. Until Sunday night when her 1-year-old son Treyson was sick.

“I did not think in a million years. This is where we would end up. Like I thought he just was sick,” Ally said.

Ally took Treyson to the emergency room at Susan B. Allen in El Dorado. She discovered he had RSV and would need to be transferred.

“We tried to get in at all the Wichita hospitals, but no one could take us,” Ally said. “I went into like full-on panic. I was like oh, what am I gonna do?”

After being placed in a program, they found an open bed. Treyson was flown from El Dorado to Topeka.

“A good friend of ours that was a police officer here in Topeka was killed in an accident a few years ago. So it kind of was like, I get emotional. So it’s kind of a blessing in disguise that we ended up here; like he’s just watching over him,” Ally said.

RSV is just one of the viruses keeping hospitals busy.

“We’ve had a bed crisis. We do have open beds, but we’re filling them up pretty quick and then as soon as we can dismiss patients, they’re getting filled right back up,” said Dr. Stephanie Kuhlmann, Wesley Medical Center pediatric medical director.

“Lots of little ones are getting hospitalized. Our suctioning clinic at Ascension Via Christi St. Francis is extremely busy, but it’s been incredibly helpful to lots of families,” said Dr. Amy Seery, pediatrician at Ascension Via Christi.

Both Wesley and Ascension Via Christi are ready to help families as the flu and RSV season begins.

Ally hopes others will do their part as well, “I’ve never been one to kiss on other’s babies, but I’ve never been like ‘OK, back off with my child like you’re too protective.’ I’ll definitely be more protective now after going through this. It’s very scary.”

Some things you can do to keep yourself and others safe include good hand hygiene, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, and masks.

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