Virus Sending Babies and Toddlers to Hospital

Megan Lynch @MLynchOnAir

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Hospitals in the region are seeing a spike in admissions from a virus that many parents of very young children dread.

“You’re looking at their child and you see their nose and it’s really flaring, your child is breathing heavily, it looks like their grunting or having a hard time breathing, you take off their shirt and they’re really pulling in between their ribs or above their collarbone,” Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Saint Louis University and SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center, Dr. Matthew Broom explains.

Broom is describing a very common, but sometimes serious, virus called RSV – respiratory syncytial virus. Symptoms include coughing, congestion, runny nose and wheezing.

Unfortunately, Broom says it can’t be treated with antibiotics. “Fortunately, most of the time that children get admitted to the hospital with RSV, usually it is just for oxygen, monitoring, maybe some re-hydration with IV fluids.”

But in some cases, especially for babies with other risk factors, it can be life-threatening. “RSV can cause respiratory distress and respiratory failure,” Broom said.

And he says November to February is the prime window for RSV transmission, “because it’s so easily transmittable it can spread pretty quickly through daycare settings and households.” If at all possible, keep small children and infants away from anyone with cold symptoms. And Broom says hand washing goes a long way toward preventing spread of the virus.


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