The last 18 months have been both frightening and frustrating for parents. The pandemic and everything that occurred around it has upended families and especially children. The CDC has recently issued a health advisory for clinicians and caregivers about the increased interseasonal RSV activity in the southern United States. After thinking we were beginning to see progress with so many Americans getting vaccinated, suddenly we are being told RSV cases are surging. Here’s what parents should know.
What Is RSV And Why Now?
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a quite common respiratory virus that normally causes mild cold-like symptoms during the fall and winter. Although most adults recover in a week or two, RSV can become serious for infants, young children, and older adults.
The CDC tells us most children get RSV by the time they are two years old. It can lead to more severe symptoms, including inflammation of the small airway in the lung known as bronchiolitis and pneumonia which is an infection of the lungs. Each year in the US, 58,000 children are hospitalized for RSV.
1 to 2% of children under 6 months who become infected with RSV may require oxygen, intubation, and mechanical help with ventilation. Most cases improve with this care and are discharged from the hospital in a few days.
RSV cases began an uptick in April 2021 and are now very high for the summertime. Typically children catch RSV in their first two years, but babies who were born during or shortly before the pandemic have not come into contact with RSV. Since they have not developed any immunity, it makes them very susceptible now.
Symptoms Of RSV In Children And Infants
Parents might see a runny nose, coughing and sneezing with RSV, but none of these symptoms are cause to be alarmed.
Patients should monitor the following symptoms which could indicate a more severe case of RSV:
- Trouble breathing
- Coughing turning into wheezing
- Not eating or unable to keep food or water down
If your child develops these symptoms, contact Kids First Pediatrics of Raeford and Fayetteville immediately and ask for testing for both COVID and RSV.
Although there is little data on the impact of contracting both COVID 19 and RSV, children could be at a higher risk.