RSV, a common virus in small children and how it can be dangerous

WEST POINT, Miss. (WCBI) – With the cooler weather to be here soon, a common virus will surely not be far behind.

Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, can be very dangerous for small children.

Anyone is susceptible to RSV, but young children and elderly adults have weaker immune systems.

That’s why it impacts them the most.

A local pediatrician at West Point’s Children’s Clinic, Dr. Keith Watson spoke with us to learn more.

“I have seen more right now than I normally see this time of year because it’s not particularly cold yet. I’m not just overrun with it so I wouldn’t use the word epidemic, right now, but I am seeing more cases for this time of year, yes, ” said Watson.

RSV gets into your body after someone with RSV coughs or sneezes.

You can get it by touching door knobs, large crowds, or for young kids by touching toys.

“I would say for sure less than one but maybe less than two. Two and older it tends to be a bad cold and the older kids and adolescents it tends to be the sniffles, ” said Watson.

Watson said there are ways to treat RSV but few ways to prevent it.

“It is a respiratory virus so there is no vaccine that is curative or preventative. ”

Parents and caretakers play a role to prevent the virus from spreading.

“Is trying not to take your young children out into crowded situations if you can avoid that, making sure you wash your hands repeatedly through the day after having high-risk contact, ” said Watson.

Many times first signs of the virus are overlooked.

“The initial symptoms are usually very mild or the parent might not even realize they’re sick, or if they do the symptoms are slight runny nose, a mild cough, stuffy nose that kind of thing but not much else,” said Watson.

Healthcare professionals say it’s important to make sure child is not struggling to breathe if they are sick.

Watch for signs of wheezing and longer breaths.

Dr. Watson says he sees most cases of RSV between October and March.

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