WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Ascension Via Christi-St. Francis says it is changing the visitation policy for its pediatric unit and pediatric intensive care unit.

The changes are in response to the increased spread of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and other viral respiratory infections. The following changes are effective immediately according to Ascension Via Christi:

  • Two family caregivers may remain with their child 24 hours a day.
  • Additionally, one family member or visitor 18 years or older per day may visit between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Parents and visitors entering the fifth-floor pediatrics unit must:

  • Use the entrance north of Elevator C to access the secure unit.
  • Sign in at the nurse’s station upon entering and exiting.

“We appreciate the cooperation of our visitors, patients, associates, and providers to support our infection control efforts and provide a safe environment of care for everyone,” Joy Scott, hospital president, said in a news release.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those who become infected with RSV usually show symptoms within four to six days of catching it. Symptoms of RSV infection usually include:

  • Runny nose
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Wheezing

These symptoms usually appear in stages, not all at once. In very young infants, the only symptoms may be irritability, decreased activity, and breathing difficulties. The agency says there are around 18 hospitalizations for every 100,000 cases in the United States.

However, nationwide the infection rate appears to have peaked during the first week of November, with the number of infections slowly declining.