What is RSV? What does it stand for? Where is it spreading, and why kids are catching it? – cleveland.com

RSV, which stands for Respiratory syncytial virus, is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

However, the virus can be serious in infants, young children and older adults.

The CDC notes that the virus is also the most common cause of pneumonia in children under 1 year of age.

Here is what you need to know about the virus that is spreading among children nearly as quickly as the COVID-19 virus.

Although RSV typically peaks in fall and winter, this year has brought on a surge in cases in the summer- especially in the Southern half of the U.S.

Experts say the virus is spreading because it was suppressed during the winter, when everyone was on high alert for COVID-19 and taking extra precautions while waiting for the vaccine rollout.

“My speculation is that because we suppressed its normal circulation time during the winter, it’s sort of making up for lost time now,” Dr. Claudette Poole, a pediatric infectious diseases physician at Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham, told NBC News in July.

Symptoms of RSV vary based on age, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

In infants, they include the following:

  • Runny nose.
  • Fever (though not always present).
  • Sneezing.
  • Coughing.
  • Decreased appetite.

In children and adults, common symptoms can include:

  • Runny nose.
  • Congestion.
  • Mild headache.
  • Sore throat.
  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness

Serious cases can lead to respiratory distress, developing into bronchitis or pneumonia.

Part of the reason why RSV is so common among children has to do with the way it is passed around.

Not only can you get it from the droplets passed on from a cough or sneeze of an infected person, but the virus also lives on hard surfaces and objects.

It’s always best to call your doctor or pediatrician for guidance.

According to the Mayo Clinic, treatment for RSV generally involves self-care measures to make a child more comfortable. Offer lots of fluids and look out for signs of dehydration.

The Mayo Clinic says doctors may recommend over-the-counter fever-reducing medicine like Tylenol (but not aspirin), along with nasal saline drops to help clear a stuffy nose. A doctor might prescribe antibiotics, too.

If the RSV is severe, a hospital stay may be needed.

Although COVID-19 can affect children, the majority of coronavirus cases have been in adults. Adults are also more likely to develop serious symptoms from COVID-19, especially if they have an underlying health condition.

RSV can affect people of all ages, but it is mostly common in infants and young children.

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