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Avera Medical Minute: RSV cases on the rise in South Dakota

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 1:53 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Health experts say they are seeing a rise in RSV cases in South Dakota, which is unusual for this time of year. Avera Pediatrician, Dr. Kara Bruning has more info on what people need to be aware of with this virus.

Miranda: First off, What is RSV and who does it affect?

Dr. Bruning: RSV is a virus. It stands for Respiratory Syncytial Virus. Nobody has to remember that so we call it RSV. Almost everyone gets RSV by the time they’re two, so it goes around every single year, but usually, it goes around in January, February, not in July. So that’s the really crazy part we have right now is we don’t see the virus at this time of the year.

RSV creates lots of congestion and mucus. So if you’re a kid and you have small airways and you put some congestion and mucus in there it can be a tough time breathing. When you’re an adult if you would get it you have bigger airways so it’s not as big of a problem. So a lot of kids get this. Most kids do fine. They have a cough, they have a runny nose, and they feel crummy for a couple of days and then it gets better.

A small percentage of those kids work really hard to breathe and they need to go on neb treatments to help them out and even a smaller percentage of those end up in the hospital. But it can be a big deal for those little kids in RSV to go around very easily it can wipe out whole daycare centers. It’s very contagious and certainly can affect a lot of children.

Miranda: You know we’re still in the middle of a pandemic, so how can you tell the difference between if it’s RSV or if it’s COVID?

Dr. Bruning: That’s the hard part right now. So the symptoms of COVID are fever, cough, runny nose, and vomiting it can be pretty much any other virus. So to know whether or not it’s COVID or is RSV you have to test for it. I can’t tell you by looking at a child you have to test for it.

Miranda: What advice do you have for parents right now as these cases are on the rise here in South Dakota?

Dr. Bruning: So our biggest advice is to watch your kids if they are working hard to breathe if you hear them wheezing if you watch their chest and their ribs are coming in every time they are taking a breath because they are using all those extra muscles that’s called retractions and we need to see your child right away and make sure they’re breathing okay.

All these things are viruses so the big things are to continue to wash your hands, continue to do everything that you can to keep safe. You know I still think that masking is important although we can’t match children under two but masking is still important for adults especially those who are not vaccinated. All these viruses are still around. We didn’t get rid of everything else just because COVID is here.

For more information head to avera.org.

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