Respiratory Syncytial Virus and Symptoms to Look out For

By: Giselle Phillip Email
By: Giselle Phillip Email

The cold and flu are more common in winter months, but there is another virus that families, especially those with young children need to watch out for. Respiratory Syncytial Virus is and how to protect yourself from getting it.

You may think that a stuffy noise is the start of a common cold, but it may in fact be Respiratory Syncytial virus also known as RSV. The virus carries similar symptoms.

"It’s a virus that can start off as just a cold virus with a lot of runny nose and cough and in younger children less than age 2 and 3 it can develop into more like a syndrome where they start having wheezing and difficulty breathing and get short of breathe,” said Dr. Angie Blaxton, Southeastern Alabama Medical center.

The virus attacks all ages and can cause serious health problems in children, especially if they were born premature and in older adults.
The virus is more common between the months of October and April.

"I could not even count on a daily basis we're seeing it in our office and I know that our group and I'm sure other groups as well have several children in the hospital with it," said Dr. Blaxton.

"Dr. Blaxton says there are some preventative actions we should take like washing our hands after contact with others."

"The more that they exposed to other children, the higher their risk for getting RSV so pre-mature babies we actually recommend that they are not taken into environments' where they are likely to be exposed to cold such as day care or crowded spaces, even church nurseries if they were extremely premature during their first and second year of life,” said Dr. Blaxton.

Some common symptoms of RSV in children are wheezing, shortness of breath, unable to take their bottles and not having adequate wet diapers. Dr. Blaxton says it's important for parents to remember that this is a common virus and that it goes around every year. If at any time you feel like you or your child has more than just a cold you should immediately take see your physician.

There is no vaccine for RSV but taking actions like covering your mouth when you cough and avoid sharing cups and utensils with others will helps prevent the spread of the virus.

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