It’s not even winter and a surge in cases of RSV is making headlines. But we don’t need the news to tell us what we’re seeing ourselves: pediatrician offices are backed up with cases, schools are sending out alerts, and families all around us are getting hit.
While we don’t want to be alarmed, we certainly want to be attentive. What’s worse is that RSV symptoms can look like Covid, Flu, or a common cold!
Let’s clear up the confusion!
Below, Pediatrician Dr. Krissy Satchi breaks down the basics of RSV so we can be prepared.
What is RSV?
RSV (Respiratory Syncyntial Virus) is one of the viruses that causes the common cold.
Why is it dangerous—and for who?
In babies and young children RSV can cause a much more severe respiratory illness called bronchiolitis which plugs up airways with mucus, decreases oxygen levels, and causes wheezing. It can also cause pauses in breathing called apnea. Severe symptoms can result in hospitalization and the need for oxygen support.
How can you tell RSV from COVID or the Flu?
You can’t! These viruses look alike and can all cause similar, sometimes severe symptoms. However, many doctors’ offices can test for these illnesses.
How is it treated?
RSV is often treated like any other cold your child gets. In fact, differentiating between Covid/RSV/flu doesn’t matter much in terms of treatment so long as symptoms remain mild. But be alert – if a child is experiencing difficulty breathing then he or she should be seen by their pediatrician.
What’s your advice to stay safe this season?
Stay away from sick contacts.
Get vaccinated from covid and flu.
Practice good hand washing.
Wear a mask in public spaces.
And if sick, keep your child home until they are better.