Hospitals see increase in respiratory virus that targets children and older people

While much of Florida has been unmasked for some time, there’s one side effect that’s hitting older people and children.

Hospitals have seen an increase in cases of RSV or respiratory syncytial virus.

The pandemic hasn’t ended but people have certainly lowered their guard.

“It’s a very tricky virus,” said Dr. Salomon Abitbol with Golisano Children’s Hospital. “It’s a respiratory virus.”

Abitbol said it’s a virus that is not typically seen this time of year.

“It’s usually more from September towards March but we’re already kind of in June and we’re still seeing cases,” Abitbol said.

It’s transmitted by contact and one big symptom is a cough that lingers for days and even weeks. Abitbol warns the virus can also cause a lot of mucus and with a young child that could be dangerous.

“Babies airways are very small, and sometimes they tend to get clogged up, that’s where we get in trouble,” Abitbol said.

Children and adults most at risk are those with other respiratory issues like asthma or COPD.

“It tends to have a five-day period when things can escalate before they begin to get better,” Abitbol said.

As children return to the playground, it’s important to be aware.

The most important thing to prevent RSV is handwashing. But of course, it’s difficult to get a young child to wash their hands.

“Parents actually do a better job of making sure that if their kids are getting a little bit of a fever or have a stomach ache, you know, how about we be a little bit more careful,” said one mom. “I’m leaving them home for the day.”

Reporter:Lois Thome
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