What's Going Around: RSV - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

What's Going Around: RSV

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MONROE (WKOW) -- You may have heard of RSV and a doctor in Green County says it's going around lately. RSV stands for Respiratory Syncytial Virus.

Dr. Katie Rebedew at Monroe Clinic says RSV is a common cause of respiratory symptoms, especially in infants and young kids. Most kids will have it at least once by the time they're two-years-old. RSV causes the common cold, but also bronchiolitis. 

Some symptoms you can watch out for: Stuffy or runny nose, cough, fever and decreased appetite. Cold symptoms generally improve over five to seven days. Dr. Rebedew says if it's bronchiolitis your child will have all those cold symptoms, plus a prolonged cough, be breathing fast or with difficulty and possibly wheezing. Bronchiolitis lasts longer then a regular cold; up to 4 weeks.

RSV is very contagious and is spread by breathing, coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose or even talking. So Dr. Rebedew suggests washing your hands often, clean frequently-touched surfaces with disinfectant cleaners, keep kids home from school or daycare if they're sick and cover noses and mouths when coughing or sneezing. Dr. Rebedew says some babies who are at very high risk of complications from RSV can get a special shot to prevent it.

There's no specific treatment for RSV, just things you can do to relieve symptoms. Saline nose drops or a nasal suction device can help. Set up a humidifier and make sure your child gets plenty of other fluids.  Also, avoid exposure to smoke. Treat fevers with acetaminophen for babies three-six months. Anyone older can have that or ibuprofen.

Since RSV is a virus antibiotics won't help. But if your child gets an ear infection from it, that may be treated with an antibiotic. Dr. Rebedew does not recommend cough and cold medicines.

She says see your doctor if your child is having a hard time breathing, turns blue or looks very pale, your child stops breathing or has a long pause in breathing or shows signs of dehydration, like dry mouth, no tears and not urinating for 8 hours. Take an infant younger than three months to the doctor if they have any fever and an older baby or toddler if they have a fever for more than a couple days.

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