SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — A virus that’s especially dangerous for infants has doctors warning the public as the holiday season approaches.
Respiratory Syntactical Virus (RSV) is a common and very contagious virus that infects the respiratory tract.
It’s so common that most children are infected with the virus by the time they reach two years old and puts more than 50,000 children in the hospital every year.
Dr. Steven Joyce, a medical doctor at MercyOne Hospital, explained how the virus can also be found in adults.
“Adults and older children can get [RSV] but it produces more of a common cold and chest cold in those people,” said Dr. Joyce. “It’s when the younger ones around one or two years old particularly have a higher risk of the pulmonary complications and the dehydration and things like that.”
Heather Nordstrom raised six kids of her own and can recall how she felt while she watched her son battle the dangerous virus.
“He was like 18 months and just was very, very ill and it really affected his chest. It was hard for him to breathe. It was very hard to watch,” said Nordstrom.
There have already been 44 cases of RSV reported in Iowa according to the Department of Public Health and those numbers are expected to spike later this month.
Similar to the common cold, RSV symptoms causes runny nose and trouble breathing but for infants, the affects can lead to bigger problems.
“The thing with RSV is it’s simply a virus you can get from shaking hands, touching shopping carts, exposure at day care and exposure to older siblings. Those are the biggest risk factors that little kids have,”said Dr. Joyce.
Currently, there’s no vaccine to prevent or cure RSV but doctors recommend watching for early signs of the illness and contact your doctor if you suspect any kind of infection.