Главная страница » RSV cases surge in kids and adults. What symptoms to watch for and when to worry RSV cases surge in kids and adults. What symptoms to watch for and when to worry На чтение 6 мин Опубликовано 24 ноября, 2022 Doctors say the early rise in cases and hospitalizations this year is likely due to Covid-19 precautions that reduced our exposure to many viruses, including RSV, in the past few years. Many young children who weren’t exposed to RSV earlier are getting it for the first time this fall. RSV is a common respiratory virus that people get many times over the course of their lives, doctors say. It typically produces mild, cold-like symptoms that resolve within a week, although coughs can linger for longer. For most people, it’s basically a cold. The virus can cause serious illness in the very oldest and youngest. People at the highest risk for severe illness and hospitalization are babies under the age of 2, as well as individuals 65 and older, particularly those with chronic heart or lung disease or weakened immune systems. Pediatric hospitals across the U.S. have been under strain for weeks from patients with RSV and other viruses. Flu activity is rising. This year, doctors have also seen slightly older children—ages 2 to 4—hospitalized for RSV, says Daniel Rauch, chief of pediatric hospital medicine at Tufts Medical Center and chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Hospital Care. “We’re seeing older kids get sicker than they typically would and it may be because they haven’t seen RSV in the last couple of years,» he says. “I can’t recall seeing this volume of sick preschool kids in my career of several decades.» What do you need to know about RSV? Here’s what doctors and immunologists advise. Symptoms of RSV The most common symptoms of RSV are similar to the common cold: congestion, sneezing, coughing and fever. The reason the virus is especially dangerous in babies is that they are more prone to bronchiolitis, or inflammation of the small airways in the lungs, which can result in difficulty breathing. The smaller the child, the smaller the airways, and the easier for them to get plugged up with mucus, says Sarah Combs, a physician and director of outreach for the emergency department at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. You can get bronchiolitis from other respiratory viruses, but RSV is the most common cause, says Elizabeth Schlaudecker, a pediatrician and medical director of the division of infectious diseases at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. That’s because many other viruses affect mainly the upper airways but RSV often gets into the lower airways of the respiratory tract. In older people, RSV can cause complications of existing chronic conditions or lead to pneumonia. When to Worry If you pull up a baby or young child’s shirt and see the skin collapsing between the ribs and their belly sucking in and out, that’s a sign they’re having difficulty breathing and using their muscles to push air in and out, says Dr. Combs. If your child appears to be having difficulty breathing, call your doctor. Another potential complication in babies, particularly those 6 months and under, is trouble nursing or bottle-feeding when they are congested, resulting in dehydration. Try feeding them with a plastic syringe. If they’re only producing one wet diaper or less every eight hours, call your doctor, says Dr. Combs. Children with chronic lung or heart disease are at higher risk of severe illness from RSV, says Dr. Schlaudecker. RSV might also cause worsening asthma symptoms in children with asthma. Don’t necessarily be too worried about a fever, says Dr. Combs. A fever is a sign the immune system is working. Give your child over-the-counter medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to make them comfortable. Hospitalizations in the Elderly While much focus has been on hospitalized babies and young children, elderly people are also getting hospitalized at higher rates than usual, says Ardeshir Hashmi, section chief of Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Geriatric Medicine. “The more medical conditions, the more at risk they are,» says Dr. Hashmi. “The more frail they are, the weaker the respiratory muscles and the more difficulty clearing the infection.» RSV often can result in worsened lung or heart-disease complications in elderly people, Dr. Hashmi says. During the pandemic, many people missed doctor’s appointments and didn’t stay on top of managing chronic conditions, which might also be fueling some of the rise in RSV hospitalizations. RSV typically leads to roughly 58,000 to 80,000 hospitalizations in children under 5 years old every year, resulting in 100 to 300 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It leads to an average of 60,000 to 120,000 hospitalizations in older adults every year and 6,000 to 10,000 deaths. Treating RSV Researchers are working on developing vaccines for RSV as well as antiviral medications. But there is currently no vaccine or specific treatment for RSV. Pediatricians recommend giving over-the-counter fever reducers to children with high temperatures and making sure they drink enough fluids to avoid dehydration. Doctors can do rapid RSV tests, but they say there’s no need to bring children in or get them tested unless they are having severe difficulty breathing and require medical attention. Hospitalized RSV patients often get oxygen supplementation or IV fluids, says Elizabeth Murray, an emergency-medicine pediatrician at the University of Rochester. In rare cases, intubation with a mechanical ventilator is required. How RSV Spreads and How to Prevent It RSV transmits largely through droplets emitted when an infected person sneezes or coughs close to you. You can also get it by touching surfaces contaminated with those droplets and then touching your mouth or nose. Washing your hands is especially important to reduce transmission. Cleaning commonly touched surfaces, particularly in settings like day cares and nursing homes, is also a useful prevention strategy. Caregivers can wear masks to help protect themselves. Immunity from RSV doesn’t last long, doctors say. You can get infected twice even within one season, Dr. Rauch says.