Cold Season: The skinny on RSV

KNOXVILLE (WVLT) -- This time of year the common cold can spread easily among young children, but there's a serious infection that could mask itself as a cold and potentially become a very serious problem for your little one.

It’s called Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV, and like the common cold, its symptoms also include coughing, sneezing and a runny nose.

"It’s very common in young children, probably more than we realize," said Gigi Taylor, a Clinical Nurse Specialist.

RSV is common in people of all ages, but infants are the most at risk.

The problem with this infection is that if it is not caught early enough your toddler could get other infections like bronchitis or pneumonia.

“It can be very serious for small infants, especially under one year of age because they can't deal with secretions,” said Taylor.

So what can you look out for?

“If they cough a lot or have difficulty breathing, get kids checked,” Taylor suggests.

For children with mild cases, no specific treatment is necessary, but for those with bad infections, it’s a different story.

"Very severe cases should be admitted to hospital and get treatment and aerosol treatment," Taylor said.

So keep an eye on your child and if they just have a runny nose and cough they should be okay.

But if they have respiratory problems, get them to the doctor to be checked for RSV.

Doctors say you can prevent the spread of RSV by practicing good hand washing, scrubbing surfaces at home, and keeping your kids from other children with coughs and sneezes.


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