Please read why the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is harmful right now and learn what causes RSV and how to contain it during COVID-19.

WHAT IS RSV?

RSV, or Respiratory Syncytial Virus as it is more often known, has been around since 1956. By the time they turn two, most youngsters have caught the virus. In the fall and spring, it’s usually on the minds of doctors, who notice it when the weather is chilly. In May, RSV activity began to rise due to this year’s abnormally early arrival.

No one is sure why we are witnessing such high outbreaks of this virus during the off-season. This is most likely due to increased diagnoses brought on by many circumstances, such as a loosening of Covid standards, more children attending daycare, and a lessening fear of seeking medical attention.

Because both RSV and COVID-19 are respiratory viruses, they go hand in hand. RSV and COVID-19 share certain symptoms. COVID-19 can cause subtle symptoms such as a fever, a runny nose, and cough in young children. Consult your child’s pediatrician if you’re unsure.

Exactly what might be done to lessen the chance of contracting an infection?

Coughing or sneezing produces airborne droplets, which are then inhaled and distributed to others. As a result, if you touch a doorknob and then touch your face, you’re at risk of contracting an illness. 

As a result, keep surfaces clean, wash your hands frequently, and use a tissue to mask your coughs and sneezes! As recommended by the CDC, avoiding direct contact with sick people can help reduce the chance of contracting RSV or any other virus.

During the RSV season, those children at high risk should have a SYNAGIS injection monthly. Premature children and those with major heart and lung conditions are at greater risk of severe infection when receiving SYNAGIS, which provides antibodies against RSV. This is not a means of infection prevention or treatment.

WHEN IS IT BEST TO SEEK MEDICAL CARE?

Without testing, it’s impossible to tell if your cold symptoms are due to RSV. Supportive care is all that is needed for most youngsters with the common cold. 

Young children may eat less or be pickier about their food. RSV cannot be treated with a specific medication, so care is focused on treating the symptoms of the illness. If you detect any symptoms that are out of the ordinary, contact your physician. If wheezing is heard or your child’s breathing becomes faster or shallower, seek emergency medical assistance.

Fortunately, the vast majority of children who catch RSV recover completely, but it serves as a sobering reminder of the importance of everyone in the family leading a healthy lifestyle.