Health Team

Hospitals see increase of kids with respiratory virus

Posted January 7, 2016

— In healthy children and adults, an illness called Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) may only seem like a mild cold, but in very young children and some others, it could be much more serious.

It was last week when 17-month-old Draya Davis came down with something.

“Cold symptoms, stuffy, runny nose, cough, congestion, fever,” said Teineshia Samuels of her daughter’s symptoms.

The usual remedies weren’t working and she ended up at WakeMed, joining many other children with the same diagnosis of RSV.

“We are having a pretty busy season of it so far. We tend to see some years be worse than others and this seems to be a pretty hefty one so far this year,” said WakeMed pediatrician Dr. Karen Chilton.

Chilton said parents should call their child’s pediatrician if the baby isn’t able to feed, they’re lethargic, and if they are wheezing and working harder to breathe.

“It’s very contagious, just by contact amongst young children in particular,” said Chilton.

Draya didn’t catch the illness from a daycare, but her mother said that she has six other siblings who attend school.

For most children, symptoms can be treated at home with the use of a humidifier, encouraging more fluids, a bulb suction nasal aspirator to clean mucus before feeding and over the counter fever reducing medications.

Some oxygen support and more fluids helped Draya improve.

“And hopefully, within 48 hours, they say she will be home,” said Samuels.

The RSV virus can live on hands for half hour and can live on household surfaces for up to five hours, so household cleaners and frequent hand washing are recommended. Keeping young children away from others who are coughing or sneezing is also advised.

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  • Norman Lewis Jan 9, 2016
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    RSV is a well known respiratory virus and years of past experience with it allows me to say confidently, most hospitalizations because of RSV are unnecessary. Unless there is an oxygen need or severe [/b[b]]distress, your child does not need to be admitted just because they are miserable. Most interventions can be done at home without the risks of disease exposure in the hospital. Most admissions are a result of Pediatricians treating the parents concerns and likely multiple phone calls, not out of medical necessity for the child.