Avera Medical Minute: RSV cases on the rise

Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 1:38 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, circulates every year and affects younger kids and babies most often and can be severe. The elderly are also at risk as well. The virus usually circulates during winter, but the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced a shift that makes the virus appear a little earlier than anticipated. Dr. Shari Eich, a pediatrician with Avera Health, says almost every child will be exposed to RSV by age two. The youngest infants or ones that have underlying issues like heart defects, lung issues, or prematurely born babies usually experience the most severe cases.

RSV can be difficult to detect from something like the flu or the common cold. “It tends to start off with a little bit of a cough and runny nose like a faucet and then maybe some fevers,” Dr. Eich said. “Then the cough gets worse, and day four or five tends to be the worst part of the illness,” she added. You can also test for RSV with a nasal swab, but it depends on the situation to determine the usefulness of that test.

Your typical tools for preventing the illness include:

-Washing your hands

-Avoiding sick people

-Covering your mouth when sneezing or coughing

-Staying home with sick

If you are worried about your child’s breathing or being dehydrated, Dr. Eich says to contact your doctor to schedule a visit.