A child’s health and safety is always top of mind for a parent. The recent influx of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases in children on the East End showing up at our medical facilities is cause for concern.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Association recently requested that federal officials declare a public health emergency, with an exponential number of children coming down with the flu-like virus that attacks the respiratory tract.
With RSV cases still on the rise, it’s important to know what to look out for and what to do if your child develops symptoms.
RSV is not a new virus and recirculates at the same time as flu season. What’s different this season — and we’re noticing it here on the East End — is that more and more children are being infected. This is likely due to an ease in mask mandates and social distancing practices, allowing viruses to repopulate.
RSV’s symptoms begin similar to a bad cold. Patients will experience congestion, coughing, fever and fatigue. Because the virus produces a layer of mucus that coats the respiratory tract, in more severe cases, breathing can be affected.
If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, do not wait. Have your child examined by a pediatrician.
Other important symptoms to look out for include vomiting and dehydration. For babies under 3 months old, please speak to your pediatrician immediately if they have been exposed to the virus. Most 3-month-old and younger patients are recommended to be admitted to the hospital.
While the situation may seem reminiscent of COVID-19, do not panic. For the majority of cases, RSV can be treated at home. Treatments include nasal saline, hydrating, acetaminophen or ibuprofen if the patient has developed a fever, and steamy showers to relieve congestion.
As we head into the holiday season, where we will gather and celebrate, please remember your children. Talk to your doctor immediately if you have or your child has developed symptoms.
If your child is admitted to the hospital, know that they are in the hands of expert medical professionals who have been treating RSV cases for years.
Robert D. Rubin, D.O.
Director of Pediatric Ambulatory Medicine
Department of Pediatrics
PBMC Health and Peconic Bay Medical Center
One fine body…