CLEVELAND (WJW) – “Mommy I don’t feel good.”
They are five words that generate a lot of questions. The main one, where does it hurt?
It’s hard to pinpoint when the symptoms of a virus like Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV sounds like so many other conditions that crop up in children.
With a severe case of RSV, it’s all about how they breathe.
“Particularly when we’re talking about RSV, the main thing we’re talking about is respiratory symptoms,” said Pediatrician Dr. David Kaelber with MetroHealth.
Kaelber says, although other cold and flu-like symptoms can appear, changes in breathing is the main thing to watch.
“If you notice your child starting to breathe a little bit faster, maybe you’re hearing some wheezing if your child already has asthma or something else where you know their breathing is not ideal, these would all be things to look for,” Kaelber said.
RSV can cause the most harm to babies and children under the age of two. People over the age of 65 or adults who are immune compromised are also vulnerable.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that increased cases of RSV in children and adults appeared earlier than expected in Washington, Colorado, Texas, Massachusetts and New Jersey.
So far, hospitals in Northeast Ohio have not seen an increase. In fact, since COVID-19 appeared, problems with RSV and other respiratory diseases has been sloped downward.
“In the past couple of years, we have seen less because people are doing those things like staying away from other people, watching their distance, washing hands and if they feel so inclined wearing a mask,” Kaelber said.
The doctor says keeping up those best practices learned from our experiences with COVID can help keep cases of RSV and other winter respiratory illnesses in check.
Keeping that up will determine if RSV will be a bigger problem in our area in coming months.
“If there’s one message to try to get out to parents, and obviously it’s harder in really little kids to get them to follow some of these behaviors to the extent that parents can help with those, that’s the best way to be safe from these type of viruses in coming months,” Kaelber said.
The doctor says, in most cases, RSV will run it’s course, but as with any illness, especially in an infant, it’s always best to consult your doctor.