KALISPELL - A respiratory virus that can cause serious illness in young children is spreading across the country – and is drawing concerns from health officials in Northwest Montana.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) poses mild cold-like symptoms in most adults but can cause pneumonia and severe breathing issues in young children.
Logan Health Children’s Pediatric Intensive Care Doctor Margret Satchell says the children’s hospital is currently averaging two cases of the virus per week but is worried that number could rise.
Dr. Satchell noted that If not properly treated, the virus can cause serious harm in young children — including infant deaths. RSV is especially dangerous for those with compromised immune symptoms.
She adds parents of young children with cold-like symptoms need to be on the lookout for bronchiolitis, an infection blocking breathing airways.
“The symptoms that you would see with that would be increased respiratory rate, working harder to breathe, so head bobbing with every breath, some belly breathing, those sorts of things, seeing the baby’s ribs through their skin while they’re breathing are all sign that they’re working harder to breathe,” Dr. Satchell explained.
Dr. Satchell says people should contact their primary care doctor or seek emergency services if their child is experiencing RSV symptoms.