RSV: What you should know

HealthBeat

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s influenza season in KELOLAND, but that’s not the only illness you need to watch out for.

It’s also the time of year when RSV cases are on the rise.

“It’s here, it’s been here for awhile and we’ll anticipate the RSV season to continue for another few months,” Haggar said.

Dr. Jennifer Haggar says RSV is a common virus that can cause a range of illnesses, from a cold all the way to a severe lower respiratory infection that can harm infants.

With two young daughters, Tom and Micah Sandager aren’t taking any chances.

“We have hand sanitizer in almost every room of our house, and then anybody who comes over you know we ask them to wash their hands, use hand sanitizer,” Micah said.

While that may sound like a lot, measures like this are a requirement after learning that 8 week old Lillian has cystic fibrosis– putting her at an increased risk of complications with RSV.

“It very much worries… it’s one of those where even as a new born you hear someone cough but with her, you hear someone cough and you’re looking at them and trying to get away from them as quickly as possible,” Micah said.

Haggar says almost every child gets RSV, but the severity of illness can differ.

She says children under 2 years old, or children with certain medical conditions like Lillian’s should be watched closely.

“This is by far the most common reason for hospitalizations for infants. So, it’s serious,” Haggar said.

She says the main things to watch for is dehydration and trouble breathing.

If you’re concerned your child has RSV, doctors say there are things a parent can do at home to help determine if it’s time go to the clinic.

“If they’re breathing really rapidly that can be a sign that they’re having a hard time breathing. Or we ask parents to watch how hard their child’s working to breath. So sometimes infants with this illness, they’ll start kind of pulling their head down or tugging, or you’ll be able to even see their ribs as they’re breathing,” Haggar said.

And if a trip to the clinic isn’t necessary, Micah hopes people will still take the right precautions to avoid spreading any germs.

“Being aware that if you have an illness and you’re out in public that you might not think it’s that bad for you but it could be very severe for someone like Lily or any newborn child,” Micah said.

Hagar says an after hours number is also available for parents who have questions when the clinic isn’t open.

For more information, click here.

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