MISSOULA - Parents around the country are being urged to be extra careful during holiday gatherings to keep their young children and babies from being exposed to RSV.
RSV can be a serious respiratory virus that can endanger a child’s life and right now, some doctors report an “unprecedented” rise in cases among children in the US.
Extremely ill children need oxygen and therefore need to be hospitalized.
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MTN News contacted a couple of local hospitals and heard from Community Medical Center (CMC) in Missoula, which we were told is extremely busy.
Some hospitals have children being treated for COVID-19 or the flu, but CMC’s Megan Condra told MTN News most of the littlest patients have RSV.
The worry now is whether there will be enough pediatric rooms available in Western Montana if the surge continues.
CMC is in contact with other hospitals about an action plan should the trend continue.
Some believe cases are spiking now since most of us wore masks and avoided a lot of public contact during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kids who normally would have caught the virus in those years are instead catching it now.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most children catch RSV at some point before they turn two years old and it’s usually mild. Symptoms may look like a common cold.
But in some children, especially young infants, RSV can be dangerous, leading to dehydration, breathing trouble, and more serious illnesses such as bronchiolitis or pneumonia.
If a baby is born prematurely, doctors recommend they get breastfed and avoid going to childcare during their first winter.
Additionally, parents should make sure that anyone coming into contact with their infant thoroughly washes their hands before touching them.
Generally speaking, handwashing is the number one preventative measure against RSV.
People can also limit exposure to RSV by:
- Avoiding contact with smoke
- Avoiding contact with sick people
- Keeping infants away from crowds
- Disinfecting surfaces regularly, including toys and changing tables
- Never sharing drinking glasses with others
- Coughing and sneezing into your elbow