RSV: Recognizing the threat


Respiratory virus off to fast start this season


FORTY FORT, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — It’s more than just the flu that’s off to an early start this winter season.

A disease that strikes adults and kids alike is rearing its ugly head. It’s called RSV which is a common respiratory virus that’s become more widespread in recent months. As Eyewitness News Healthbeat Reporter Mark Hiller explains, it’s important to know the symptoms, how it’s spread and why it’s so vital to prevent it — especially in babies.

It was just a wellness visit on Tuesday for Samantha Kushner’s 15-month-old daughter, Madison. Geisinger Pediatrician Ashley Pearce checked out the child’s vital signs and said, “You’re doing so good.”

Mom is glad to hear that because when toddlers are sick, the Larksville woman said, “They just cry, scream and it’s like what’s wrong with my child.”

Ms. Kushner is trying to prevent Madison from getting something the CDC says strikes most children before they’re two: Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV which her nephew once had. “It’s a scary kind of process,” she said.

Dr. Pearce has treated a number of children this fall for RSV. Most kids bounce back from mild, cold-like symptoms but that’s not always the case. Besides a runny nose, coughing and sneezing, and a fever, RSV can trigger decreased appetite and vomiting among other concerns.

Dr. Pearce said, “It can cause some issues with breathing so something called bronchiolitis which is a little inflammation of the lower lungs.”

Pneumonia, too, which could land a young child in the hospital. Dr. Pearce urges prevention that goes beyond good hygiene. Besides frequent hand washing, you need to avoid potentially contagious areas.

“Especially in younger children, making sure, you know, we’re not exposing them too much so keeping them around sick relatives, sick friends,” she said.

And child care centers, too because when it comes to RSV, Ms. Kushner said, “You don’t want anyone near your kid. I don’t want this to happen to this little girl.”

Another precaution to take according to Dr. Pearce? Don’t let other people kiss your baby. And if you suspect your child is infected with RSV, call your pediatrician immediately.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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