As COVID-19 numbers continue to decrease another virus is popping up. Respiratory Syncytial Virus commonly known as RSV isn’t usually life-threatening, but officials say it does hospitalize more than 2 million children each year.
“It’s a fairly common virus. In you and I it will cause a cold,” Dr. Christina Dasilva said. “In little ones it can go a little bit lower and cause inflammation of the bronchial which is a part of your lower airway.”
Dasilva said that normally RSV numbers increase during the winter season, but with facemask restrictions being lifted cases are starting to appear.
“In the winter months because of COVID we were all doing a really good job of wearing masks and doing really good hand hygiene, unfortunately that is discontinue,” Dasilva said. “Respiratory Syncytial Virus is a common virus that is spread through droplets and contact. So just being next to somebody not wearing a mask not having as much hand hygiene is why we are seeing a little bit more RSV now.”
Dasilva said RSV is more common in children because they share toys often. RSV is spread from droplets from coughing or sneezing or drool on children’s toys. She said wiping toys down after use can decrease the chance of spreading the virus.
There are many things parents can watch out for in children including making sure they are staying hydrated and that their breathing is normal.
“If they are breathing really fast and hard. If your noticing what we call nasal flaring which is when the nostril’s will flare outwards,” Dasilva said. “Or retractions which is when your skin sucks into your ribs. Or tracheal tugging which is again when skin sucks in up top on your neck or head bobbing if they are working to hard to breath.”
Still Dasilva said getting the COVID vaccine can help with overall health.
Dasilva said if your child experiences any trouble breathing take them to their doctor or the local hospital as soon as possible.