RSV cases on the rise in children across the country

Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is hitting the country harder and earlier than usual.
KBTX First News at Four(Recurring)
Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 5:51 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is hitting the country harder and earlier than usual.

RSV is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms, however RSV can be serious for infants, young children and older adults. It’s typically is seen in the winter, from around November to February, but according to Dr. Jesse Parr with Texas Children’s Pediatrics, COVID saw the virus come during the summer.

Parr says RSV “most severely affects younger children because their airways are smaller in diameter.”

He adds that babies under one year have “the most difficulty” because symptoms such as runny nose and trouble breathing cause them to have trouble feeding. The virus can be especially serious in premature infants or young children with congenital heart or chronic lung diseases or weakened immune systems. Parr admits it’s difficult to protect young kids from getting RSV when they’re around each other playing at daycare and school.

“The only way you can avoid RSV is just avoid contact with everybody else, and as we discovered with COVID, that’s very difficult to do, and sometimes worse than the disease itself,” he explained.

Parents who have a child that is ill and showing RSV-type symptoms should keep them out of school or childcare. If a little one is having trouble breathing, it’s important to clear their airways. The virus can also lead to complications down the line such as ear infections. Parr recommends going to the child’s pediatrician to avoid overloading emergency rooms if possible.

Right now there is no specific treatment for RSV, though researchers are working to develop vaccines and antivirals.

Watch the full interview in the player above.