Hospitals seeing more children with respiratory virus

If a child with cold symptoms shows decreased appetite or drinking, get them checked by a doctor
Published: Oct. 21, 2022 at 5:43 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Wisconsin, like the rest of the nation, is seeing an uptick in cases of a virus that is usually seen in very young children.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cases of RSV across the country have nearly tripled in the past two months.

Respiratory syncytial virus is a common respiratory virus among children that looks like your average cold. The most common symptom is a wet cough. There may be some sneezing, some coughing.

But if your child has a decreased appetite or won’t drink as much due to constricted airways and a sore throat, take the child to the doctor immediately.

The symptoms look mild, but it’s far more dangerous in children under 2.

For most young kids, it can last about 1 to 2 weeks for the symptoms to go away, but Dr. Pradeep Prakash from St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay says parents could have a hard time seeing RSV as more than just a cold.

”In most children, it would be like a mild cold, and it goes away. So, parents wouldn’t even know that their child had RSV. Only if it gets worse would we see [parents] seek help and [children] get tested, and that’s when we know that it’s RSV. Otherwise, it’s very difficult to differentiate from any other virus,” Dr. Prakash, a pediatric intensivist at HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital, said.

RSV spreads through contact or droplets. Dr. Prakash says two very familiar ways to stop the spread of RSV: proper hand washing and wiping down surfaces in your home.

”It lives on hard surfaces for a few hours. So, hand washing is the most important thing. When you’re out, when you come back home, you need to wash your hands. And, then, wiping down surfaces. Like, if you’re going out shopping, wiping the car down. When you are out on the playground, wiping down where your child plays.”

What parents can do to protect their kids from RSV, a virus usually seen in very young children