Parents in Ireland have been warned not to bring small babies to 'social occasions' where they may pick up a virus that is doing the rounds.
In a statement from Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, Temple Street Children’s University Hospital and National Children’s Hospital in Tallaght, it's been outlined that the hospitals are reaching peak levels in emergency departments due to a viral infection known as RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus).
This can be a prolonged illness with numerous complications, particularly in small babies.
The statement says:
'Considering that this respiratory virus will remain at peak for the next three to four weeks, parents and guardians should also avoid bringing very small babies to social occasions where they may pick up an infection.'
'Over the last month the three children’s hospitals in Dublin have experienced an increase in Emergency Department (ED) attendances and admissions to inpatient beds. This week has seen particularly high levels of activity.
'Of particular note is an increase in young children and infants presenting with respiratory infections, in particular a viral infection known as RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus).
'While this occurs every winter, the increase in presentations to our EDs has been more significant this season.
'Some babies and children with this virus can become very unwell requiring supportive treatment and prolonged hospital admissions.
'Based on previous infection control data it is anticipated that this virus will continue to be at peak levels for the next three to four weeks.
'The children’s EDs are open, however patients attending may experience long delays at this time.'
The hospitals have issued an apology to all affected by long waiting times.
“The hospitals wish to apologise to all patients inconvenienced by this situation, this includes elective patients that we have had to postpone.
“The Children’s Hospital Group is working closely with the Clinical Directors and hospital management in the three hospitals to ensure that every effort is made to manage this situation and that those experiencing long waiting times in our Emergency Departments are managed as safely and quickly as possible.
“In order to safely manage all patients in the EDs, families of children with minor and less urgent complaints are advised to see their GP/out of hours service first, where possible and appropriate.”