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Central Texas hospitals, emergency rooms seeing spike in RSV cases among children

Hospitals in Central Texas are seeing a spike in Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), an illness that attacks the respiratory system. (Photo: anjanettew / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Hospitals in Central Texas are seeing a spike in Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), an illness that attacks the respiratory system.

Dr. Ross Tobleman, Emergency Medicine Physician at Baylor Scott & White in Pflugerville, said cases are hitting children especially hard.

The virus is most common among young children. However, once you've had it, the chances of contracting it again are pretty rare.

"When you get these young kids or pediatric patients that come in with RSV, the thing we get concerned most about is that they have a lot of wheezing or shortness of breath," Tobleman said.

Even though the new Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Pflugerville has been open less than a week, he said they are already seeing a steady amount pediatric patients with RSV cases in their emergency room. But that's not the only branch dealing with it. Cases have been on the rise at several of their clinics and hospitals since November.

"Most of the time kids are getting this in daycares and schools," he said.

RSV usually comes with a cough, low fever, wheezing, and Asthma-like symptoms.

He suggests staying home if you or your child comes down with a fever and said over the counter medicines that treat fever are best for children.

"Those children's cough medicines that you see, Tylenol with decongestions in them, you don't want to use those with kids," he said. "You certainly just want to stay with Tylenol and Fever that controls the fever."

Tobleman told CBS Austin antihistamines, nasal sprays, and humidifiers can help with a runny nose and congestion, but if the case becomes severe, you or your child should see a doctor or go to the ER.

"Most of the time, RSV is something that doesn't cause many problems, but in the rare case, it can cause pneumonia, and that can lead to death," he said.

Tobleman said a good 30 second hand wash is one of the best defenses against becoming ill.

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