When the common cold turns serious: How to recognize RSV

(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A common childhood illness can literally takes your baby’s breath away.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is more widespread during fall and winter months and hospitalize nearly 60,000 children under the age of five every year., according to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. Dr. Heather Edgley, an East Tennessee Children’s Hospital Emergency Room Physician, says RSV is highly contagious and can be dangerous for infants.

East Tennessee Children’s Hospital said they are beginning to see more children with RSV, which is typical for this time of year. The disease is spread through droplets containing the virus when someone coughs or sneezes.

It can cause coughing and sneezing, make it difficult to breathe and Edgley says children may refuse to eat or drink. She said complications can cause other respiratory illnesses such as bronchiolitis  or pneumonia. Parents should also be concerned about rapid dehydration if a child is refusing to eat and drink.

Children should be taken to the emergency room, according to Edgley, if they are struggling to breathe, have a high fever, thick nasal discharge, worsening cough or signs of dehydration. She says signs of dehydration include sunken eyes, lack of tears or urine output and listlessness.

Edgley says the key to prevention of RSV is remembering to wash hands, clean surfaces with disinfectant and keep school-aged children with a cold away from babies until symptoms have passed.

More information on RSV:

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