January 9, 2002 at 10:34 PM CST - Updated July 26 at 11:01 PM
We're right in the middle of cold and flu season, which also happens to be RSV season
. There's already been cases of RSV right here in the Heartland.
In rare cases, the virus can be deadly. RSV stands for Respiratory Syncytial Virus. Adults can get it, but it's most dangerous for young children and the problem is, it's hard to detect.
Kim Florek has one son, 11-month-old Christian. She says, "He was taking deeper breaths to get oxygen. He was having distress getting air to his airways." At first, Christian's parents thought he had a sinus infection, but he really had RSV, which led to pneumonia and a couple days in the hospital. A case this serious is rare, but RSV isn't. Dr. Lee Armstrong, a pediatric hospitalist at Southeast Hospital says, "It has a 100%attack rate for children under three, which means by the age of three every child will have had RSV." Not every parent realizes their child has the virus because the symptoms are like the common cold. A runny nose, wheezing, coughing, and a low grade fever are ordinary symptoms. Many children aren't ever diagnosed with RSV, because their symptoms are minor. Just a small percentage of babies are like Christian and have to be hospitalized for it.
One way to protect your child against RSV, is to not take them outside before they're six weeks old. It's a rule that should be carried out especially during the months of October to March, that's when babies are most susceptible to get the virus. Dr. Armstrong says, "The younger the child the more likely the symptoms are worse because of the poor development of the lungs and the small diameter of the airways. Children under the age of two typically have the worst problem with it."
Some children are at a higher risk of getting the disease. Premature babies are, so are children who have a heart disease, or a lung condition. Babies who live in crowded living conditions are also at a higher risk, so are children who are exposed to second hand smoke or have older siblings at home.Again, those are just children who are at a higher risk of getting the disease, but all kids get it. If your child has any RSV symptoms, better safe than sorry, get to your doctor.