NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Respiratory illnesses are on the rise and doctors at Children’s Hospital New Orleans say they are almost at full capacity because of the uptick in cases.

“When the kids get sick, they are coming to us and we will always take them in, but it does strain our capacity at times and right now is one of those times,” Dr. Mark Kline at Children’s Hospital New Orleans said.

Dr. Kline says they are seeing a spike in Influenza A, RSV, and viruses in the polio family, but not polio. These viruses aren’t new but it is rare to be seeing so many cases this early.

“We are seeing far more respiratory illnesses than we typically do, we think this is probably associated with COVID-19, maybe the fact that kids have been out of circulation, have been wearing masks, not in big crowds for the last several years and they haven’t been exposed to many things,” he said.

Nation-wide Louisiana is one of the states seeing a spike in respiratory illnesses in kids. Dr. Kline says symptoms start off like colds or the flu, but get worse and could include coughing, wheezing, body aches, fever, and even pneumonia.

“These are viruses we have dealt with for a very long time and we know how to manage these conditions. With winter looming we probably have a few more months of all of this ahead of us. Now more exposures are occurring and there are more infections than we would typically see this time of year,” Dr. Kline said.