Central Texas doctors are seeing more cases of RSV in children this year

This year, cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) have been way up. This week, St. David’s Children’s Hospital has seen a spike in RSV cases, as have doctors at Baylor Scott & White clinics.

Look for signs of RSV such as wheezing and cough. photos.com 2007
Look for signs of RSV such as wheezing and cough. photos.com 2007

Baylor Scott & White doctors say it’s the worst year they have seen, with 122 cases in Central Texas this week, up from 90 the week before.

It’s what lead to 4-year-old Statesman Season for Caring recipient Emely Rodriguez-Aviles dying Thursday morning. She was in the hospital getting treated for leukemia when she contracted the virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said:

“Healthy people usually experience mild, cold-like symptoms and recover in a week or two. But RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults. In fact, RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia in children younger than 1 year of age in the United States. In addition, RSV is being recognized more often as a significant cause of respiratory illness in older adults.”

Look for these symptoms:

  • A runny nose
  • Decrease appetite
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Fever 1 to 3 days later
  • Wheezing
  • Irritability
  • Decreased activity
  • Breathing difficulties

It usually starts about four to six days after being exposed and can last about one to two weeks.

 

Help prevent RSV by:

  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Wash hands frequently and correctly (with soap and water for 20 seconds)
  • Avoid sharing cups and eating utensils with others
  • Refrain from kissing others

This is the time of year when RSV peaks, especially when there is cold air and wind gusts. The illness can lead to bronchitis and pneumonia, which are also on the rise this year.

RSV affects babies and young children and can be deadly in infants or children with compromised immune systems.

“When you have a lot of mucus in your airways, and their cough mechanisms are not well-developed, it can cause a lot of problems,” said Dr. Goddy Corpuz, of Baylor Scott & White Health — Cedar Park.

RSV’s peak lasts through April.

Author: Nicole Villalpando

Nicole Villalpando writes about families in the Raising Austin blog and the Raising Austin column on Saturdays. She also offers a weekly and monthly family calendar at austin360.com/raisingaustin. She tweets at @raisingaustin.

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