A wave of colds like the insidious RS virus is sweeping Germany. Many children’s hospitals are already overburdened, as the little ones are particularly hard hit. But when does a child have to see a doctor or go to the hospital? These are the three most important warning signs.

As soon as Corona recedes into the background, a new wave of diseases overruns the republic. This time caused by cold viruses such as the respiratory syncytial virus – RSV for short. It is actually a harmless cold virus that causes coughs and runny noses in adults or does not cause any symptoms at all.

However, in infants, small children and children with chronic illnesses, the virus can infect the lungs and trigger severe courses that can even be fatal in the worst case. Around 100,000 children worldwide die every year as a result of an RSV infection – countries with poor medical care are particularly affected.

But the situation is also tense in Germany at the moment. Especially in the endangered age group, the number of infections has skyrocketed in the past few weeks. Medical practices and children’s hospitals in Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony are already sounding the alarm because there are no more beds available. This is also due to the lack of staff, but the infection curve is going up steeply. The children’s intensive care and emergency physician Florian Hoffmann from the Hauner Children’s Hospital in Munich recently spoke of a “dramatic epidemic event” that spans the entire northern hemisphere.

In order to determine whether an RSV infection is actually present, the doctor must take a smear test. Typical symptoms include

In chronically ill children and especially in infants in the first months of life, the infection can spread to the lower respiratory tract within one to three days and, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), among other things

to lead.

Not exactly reassuring for parents of infants and young children. Because what should you do if your child has cold symptoms? When do parents need to see a doctor or even go to the hospital? Here are the three most important warning signs:

“If a child under the age of six months develops a fever, you should always see a doctor immediately. You shouldn’t lose a minute there,” warns Jakob Maske, pediatrician and spokesman for the Professional Association of Pediatricians (BVKJ) to the “RND”. Especially in the current wave, small children under the age of one are at risk. In children over one year, the courses are less threatening.

In general, parents should seek medical advice for children if the body temperature rises above 39 degrees, recommends the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (Iquig). For babies under three months, an increase to over 38 degrees is sufficient. Babies under the age of three months in particular can be ill if they only have an elevated temperature.

Parents should also contact their pediatrician if the fever occurs in phases or even a febrile seizure. A high fever in particular could also be an indication of another infection. Because according to doctors, the RS virus is a door opener for other pathogens such as pneumococci.

Infection of the lower respiratory tract can lead to complications, especially in infants. If the child breathes quickly, with effort and makes wheezing, i.e. whistling, hissing or crackling noises, these are alarm signals for shortness of breath. In this case, parents should immediately contact the pediatrician or call an ambulance by dialing 112.

Sven Armbrust, chief physician at the clinic for pediatrics and adolescent medicine at the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Clinic in Neubrandenburg, also points out how treacherous the virus is, especially for infants up to six months. The reason: the anatomy of the airways in babies is much finer and therefore more sensitive. “What might be a bit of snot in the upper respiratory tract in the older sibling can be shortness of breath in the little ones,” warns Armbrust in the “Rheinische Post”.

In fact, around two to three percent of RSV-infected children would have to be treated in the hospital because they need oxygen, says Martin Wetzke from the Medical University in Hanover on “BR24”. Some of these children would also need intensive care treatment.

If the general condition deteriorates sharply and the child no longer wants to eat or drink or even vomits, these are also alarm signs for which parents should seek medical help quickly. According to the RKI, these symptoms could indicate RSV-related bronchiolitis, an inflammation of the small bronchi, which is caused by the RS virus in 80 percent of infants. Vomiting and refusing to drink can also lead to dangerous dehydration.

Regardless of whether an RSV infection is present or not, doctors usually recommend immediate admission to the children’s hospital in the following cases:

In life-threatening cases, especially shortness of breath, injuries and suspected poisoning, parents should call the emergency room on 112. This is often the faster way to get the child to the hospital and has the advantage that medical care is provided on the way there.