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RSV is common, but serious respiratory illness that is more prevalent this time of year

Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 5:21 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -

The country has been on alert since march due to the coronavirus, and as colder temperatures approach, parents may worry that their child may catch the common cold or flu. But many parents don’t know about another contagious and common virus that is contracted by nearly all infants by the age of two this time of year. It’s called respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, and it can be very serious in babies and toddlers - especially in premature babies and other infants and children considered high risk.

Here are some symptoms of RSV in infants:

- Runny nose

- Decrease in appetite

- Coughing

- Sneezing

- Fever

- Wheezing

- Short, shallow and rapid breathing

- Cough

- Poor feeding

- Unusual tiredness (lethargy)

- Irritability

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, virtually all children get an RSV infection by the time they are tow years old. Most of the time RSV will cause a mild, cold-like illness, but it can also cause severe illness such as bronchiolitis and pneumonia.

On Wednesday, Dr. Michael Forbes of Akron Children’s Hospital, joined NewsChannel 7 at 4 to talk more about the signs and symptoms to look out for and how to protect little ones.

Here are ways to protect infants:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, and help young children do the same. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Washing your hands will help protect you from germs.
  • Keep your hands off your face. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Germs spread this way.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that people frequently touch, such as toys and doorknobs. When people infected with RSV touch surfaces and objects, they can leave behind germs. Also, when they cough or sneeze, droplets containing germs can land on surfaces and objects.
  • Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school, and public areas when you are sick. This will help protect others from catching your illness.

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