KNOXVILLE (WATE) – It’s a common childhood illness that takes your baby’s breath away.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is highly contagious and can be dangerous for infants. East Tennessee Children’s Hospital said RSV infections usually begin during the Fall and hospitalize nearly 60,000 children under the age of five every year (CDC).
Dr. Katy Stordahl, an emergency room physician at the children’s hospital said they have had more 25 positive RSV tests since November.
RSV is a contagious infection of the lungs and breathing passages, spread through droplets containing the virus when someone coughs or sneezes, according to Dr. Stordahl. She said symptoms can including coughing and sneezing, fever, struggling to breathe and refusing to eat or drink.
Stordahl said RSV can also cause cause other respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis or pneumonia. If a child refuses to eat and drink, she also said it can cause rapid dehydration.
If a child is struggling to breath, has a high fever, thick nasal discharge, a worsening cough and signs of dehydration, Stordahl said it is time to bring your child to an emergency room or doctor. She said signs of dehydration can include sunken eyes, lack of tears or urine output and listlessness.
Prevention is key, according to Stordahl. She said parents should remind their kids to wash hands regularly and clean surfaces with disinfectant. She also said school-aged children with a cold should stay away from babies until symptoms have passed.
More information on RSV: