In a season full of sniffles and sneezes, it can be hard to spot one of the worst viruses around. Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) can lead to many other serious illnesses. Dr. Emily Fisher of Baylor Scott & White joined us in the studio to tell us what to watch out for. Now’s the time of year to start thinking about RSV if you have young children. Children and babies are particularly vulnerable to RSV, which has symptoms similar to a bad cold, making it tough for parents to determine when to contact their doctor or visit an emergency room. RSV can lead to very serious problems like pneumonia, so it is important to know the difference. RSV is a problem that occurs throughout our community and during this time of year can cause a surge in patients admitted to pediatric intensive care units. Babies younger than six months and those born prematurely are more likely to have problems with RSV. RSV season lasts from November to April. Like a bad cold, RSV is spread by droplets from an infected person.
According to Baylor Scott & White Physicians, RSV usually causes the same symptoms as a cold, including:
- stuffy or running nose
- mild sore throat
Babies with RSV may also:
- Have no energy
- Act fussy or cranky
- Be less hungry than usual
If a child begins wheezing or is having trouble breathing, BS&W doctors advise parents to call their doctor or 911.
If your child has RSV:
- Prop up your child’s head to make it easier to breathe and sleep.
- Suction your baby’s nose if he or she can’t breathe well enough to eat or sleep.
- Control fever with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Never give aspirin to someone younger than 20 years, because it can cause Reye syndrome.
It’s difficult to keep from catching RSV, just like it’s hard to keep from catching a cold, but you can lower the chances by practicing good health habits like washing your hands often, and teaching children to do the same. See that your child gets all the vaccines your doctor recommends. Medication to prevent RSV may be given to babies and children who are more likely to have problems with the infection. And, while these medications may not completely prevent RSV, they can keep symptoms from getting worse.
Baylor Scott & White Medical Center is located in Round Rock at 300 University Boulevard. You can find Dr. Emily Fisher at Baylor Scott & White Clinic – Austin Circle C which provides superior, personalized care right in your neighborhood. The full-service, primary care clinic offers services for the entire family from pediatrics to geriatrics and houses an on-site laboratory. For more information, call 512-509-3963 or visit them online at SW.org.
Sponsored by Baylor Scott & White. Opinions expressed by guests on this program are solely those of the guest(s) and are not endorsed by this television station.