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January 27, 2012, 6:10 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

SIOUX FALLS, SD - Not only are the number of flu cases increasing in South Dakota, but another virus is making its rounds.

KELOLAND doctors are seeing a large amount of children coming through their doors dealing with RSV.

Ten-month-old Isabella has been in the hospital for half a week, battling RSV. Her mother took her to the doctor after she was coughing, breathing rapidly, and had a fever.

"I was scared of course, and then you're unsure of yourself if you're making a bigger deal out if it than anything," Isabella's Mother Natasha Justice said.

But now Natasha is thankful she made the decision to bring her daughter to the doctor. While Isabella is in the hospital, her twin sister, Elianna also has RSV but is doing much better at home.

"It's so contagious. You can get it from going to a grocery store or just out," Justice said.

More than a fourth of the kids who are hospitalized here at Sanford Children's are suffering from RSV. Doctors say with so many cases out there, the best thing you can do to protect your child is to make sure they're not in contact with other children who are sick.

"First of all don't go to daycare. Don't be around a lot of other kids who have sneezes and runny noses. Wash your hands. Wash the child's hands. Wash the toys," Sanford Pediatrician Dr. Terry Lang said.

Symptoms can differ from person to person, but the virus is usually most serious in young babies, especially those in certain high-risk groups.

"If you have some underlying lung conditions, if you've had dysplasia. If you've had asthma, it will complicate those more than it does for most kids, but the younger you are, the sicker you're going to be with RSV," Sanford Pediatrician Dr. Terry Lang said.

As far as Isabella, her mother hopes she'll be able to go home soon, but is glad she's now receiving help at the hospital.

"I think as parents we're just given that feeling that you know it's wrong, and you have to go with your gut. If you know something is wrong, you need to bring them in right away," Justice said.

Because while RSV leads to mild, cold-like symptoms in some, the virus can be deadly in others.

RSV usually starts out with a runny nose and congestion, but gets worse within the next three or four days.

Lang says if your child's respiratory rate is around 60 or if they're having trouble eating or drinking because of their breathing, you should take them to the doctor immediately.

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