CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – RSV cases in young children appear to be on the rise, which doctors say is unusual for this time of year.
Normally, the respiratory virus starts to spread in the fall.
“We really didn’t see RSV all of last year. Starting in April, it completely disappeared and did not appear until fairly recently. And right now, it seems to be peaking in July and August, which is very unusual for this virus,” said Camille Sabella, MD, pediatric infectious disease specialist for Cleveland Clinic Children’s.
Dr. Sabella said it’s unclear why the respiratory virus is spreading earlier this year, but it is of concern since the Delta variant is also circulating.
Symptoms of RSV typically include a runny nose, fever, cough, wheezing and shortness of breath. In severe cases, a child may need to be hospitalized, often due to breathing problems.
Dr. Sabella said RSV is highly contagious and spreads through person-to-person contact, so it’s important children are routinely washing their hands.
“This virus also lives on inanimate objects like toys and surfaces, so keeping things as clean as possible, wiping things down, but washing hands is by far the most important thing you can do,” he said.
Dr. Sabella said treatment for RSV varies based on the severity.
In mild cases, the virus tends to goes away on its own within one to two weeks.