What Is RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus)?
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is an infection of the lungs and respiratory tract. Anyone can get an RSV infection, but only some people are at high risk for severe cases. Those with a high risk include:
- Premature infants
- Infants 6 months or younger
- Young children with congenital heart or chronic lung diseases
- Immuno-compromised adults and young children
- The elderly, particularly those with heart or lung diseases
RSV infections are highly contagious, and infections typically occur from late fall to early spring. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), RSV can be transmitted when:
- An affected person coughs or sneezes
- Virus droplets from a cough or sneeze get into someone else’s eyes, nose, or mouth
- Someone has direct contact with the virus, like kissing the face of someone with RSV
- Someone touches a surface with the virus on it and then touches their face before washing their hands
The Recent Rise in RSV Illnesses in Babies
This June, the CDC noticed an alarming rise in RSV cases in Southern pediatric hospitals, and more recently, other parts of the United States are also seeing an increase in cases. News outlets and healthcare workers have been advising parents to monitor their sick children and be aware of RSV.
Scientists are working to develop a vaccine for RSV infections. There has also been recent news of a vaccine on the horizon, however, no vaccine for RSV has been released yet. In your home, you can work to prevent your child (and yourself) from getting RSV by:
- Continuously washing your hands
- Cleaning the hard surfaces in your home regularly (i.e., doorknobs, counters, crib rails)
- Avoiding exposure (by staying away from sick people)
- Washing your child’s toys regularly
RSV in Infants and Young Children
The CDC states that: a vast majority of children will get an RSV infection before they turn 2 years old. However, in the United States, around 58,000 children under 5 are hospitalized due to an RSV infection. You can also get sick with an RSV infection more than once.
While in some children RSV can cause a mild reaction mimicking a cold. In others, RSV can be much more severe and cause pneumonia or bronchiolitis. To recognize RSV symptoms in your child, you can look out for:
- A runny nose
- Coughing or wheezing
- A decrease in appetite and/or activity
- Struggles with their breathing
While similar to COVID-19 in terms of symptoms, RSV and coronavirus are two separate respiratory infections. The Mayo Clinic warns that RSV can weaken the immune systems of those infected, which puts them at greater risk of developing COVID-19. People (children included) can have COVID and RSV at the same time, which will only make their case more severe.
How Do You Diagnose RSV in Children?
If your child is sick, you should reach out to your doctor. A pediatrician may do a variety of tests, a physical exam, and/or ask you questions about your child and their symptoms to determine what virus your child may have.
If your child was misdiagnosed or improperly treated, you may have legal recourse for a medical malpractice suit. With over 20 years of legal experience, Attorney David Kates can help investigate your case and help you fight for compensation.
Known for his tenacity and compassion, David Kates offers his clients results-driven legal representation. To speak with him about your case, call (718) 866-3664 or reach out online today.