RSV cases on the rise - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

RSV cases on the rise


We're now in the peak of cold and flu season.  Doctors are also seeing a big spike in the number of RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, cases.  The virus can become especially dangerous in infants. 

You couldn't tell it now, but nine-month-old Ta'Nyah Robinson is just getting over a bad case of RSV.

"She had started coughing a lot, very hard.  She has asthma, and then started wheezing a little bit.  I'm like, 'OK.  Time to get to the doctor.'  After a while, everything started coming: fever, diarrhea, she wouldn't sleep at all at night," said Ta'Nyah's mom, Kiara Bates.

Just getting a diagnosis of RSV was pretty scary for Bates, since her older daughter K'Mari had a serious case of it when she was a year old.

"She was in the hospital a couple days, but did pretty good.  It is scary because with some of the signs, it's like you can't believe a child could go through some of the things you can imagine of RSV," said Bates.

Luckily, Ta'Nyah is now on the mend, and K'Mari is staying healthy.  But local doctors say that this is peak RSV season, so lots of kids are coming down with it right now.

"For most people, RSV is the common cold.  This is when it peaks.  It's really almost impossible to differentiate the two.  But RSV does have the potential to become a more serious illness--bronchiolitis, which is associated with the wheezing we hear," said Dr. Benjamin Davidson, Covenant Clinic pediatrician.

There are warning signs when you might want to visit the emergency room.

"That would be increased work of breathing, retractions, nasal flaring, decreased urine output, appearing ill, and any evidence of fatigue," Dr. Davidson said.

In some cases, breathing treatments may be needed.  But typically, antibiotics and simple remedies will work.

"The number one treatment is nasal bulb suctioning with saline, making sure you get the airway clear, and then trying to keep the patient hydrated and otherwise healthy while you're getting them through the illness," said Dr. Davidson.

While it can be frightening for parents like Kiara Bates, it can all help avoid serious complications, even death.  Bates is just glad Ta'Nyah's doing better--back to being a happy, healthy little girl.

Doctors also say the increase in virus cases is a good reminder to keep up with proper hygiene, including frequent hand washing, and sanitizing toys to limit the spread of germs.

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