NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— Children’s Hospital New Orleans is facing an emergency. They are at capacity with young patients suffering from several respiratory viruses, and it is straining their staff.

Staff is getting the word out on social media saying, “Our Emergency Departments are experiencing extremely high volumes due to increasing respiratory viruses in kids. Thank you for your patience.”

Dr. Mark Kline at Children’s Hospital New Orleans says it is not just one virus that they are dealing with. He said they are dealing with the flu as well as several respiratory illnesses. The extremely high number of patients is spreading them thin.

“In our ER we are seeing patients as quickly as we can, but what’s limiting is the availability of nurses to triage patients and care for patients in the Emergency Department,” Dr. Kline said.

Dr. Kline said parents can help by knowing when to seek care at the hospital or if it is better to take your child to a family doctor or urgent care especially if their symptoms aren’t severe. Those severe respiratory symptoms to look out for are, “Rapid breathing, distress breathing, flaring of the nostrils, and grunting noises when they are breathing. Not every child that has a respiratory virus needs to come into the ER.”

Dr. Kline said that the best way to protect your kids from the flu and COVID-19 is with vaccinations.

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