Doctors see uptick in respiratory syncytial virus this season

RSV season is underway

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Nearly all children are infected by respiratory syncytial virus, commonly known as RSV, by two years old. Right now is the peak season for contracting it.

Doctors said RSV can happen to anyone but it’s more common in younger children and older adults with weaker immune systems. And for some, you may not even know you have it until days later.

Glenda and Pete Warfford’s granddaughter was diagnosed with the virus when she was one.

“It was scary for her but it was also scary for the parents,” Glenda Warfford said. “I think you have motherly instincts that tell you, you know, your child isn’t breathing correctly or you know is she gasping for air or even sounds like wheezing.”

Difficulty with breathing is one symptom of RSV.

Tideland Health Pediatrician Dr. Lucretia Carter said other symptoms are sucking in between the ribs, nose flaring and even a fever.

Carter also said this is the time of the year when the virus is most common, the season typically runs from October to April. But Carter said over the years they’ve seen that time frame change.

“Over the past several years we’ve been seeing it almost year-round," she said. “And we have had an uptick in the virus over the past several weeks and I suspect we’ll continue to see that.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention said RSV can also cause more severe infections such as bronchiolitis, an inflammation of the small airways in the lung, and pneumonia, an infection of the lungs.

Carter said usually patients will come in with cold-like symptoms but be diagnosed with RSV. She said doctors have a few options when it comes to treatments.

“Treatment is actually more supportive than anything," Carter said. "We can’t make it go away any faster but we can provide support. So that may involve suction the nose, we may provide fluids, or sometimes we give oxygen or respiratory support if needed.”

The Warffords have a message for those preparing to visit with family this upcoming holiday season.

“Be cautious of how close you get and what you do and how you interact with them," Pete Warfford said.

Carter also said the best way to prevent the virus is continually washing your hands, coughing into your arm and avoid kissing faces of small children.

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