Cases of RSV usually rise in the fall, but experts say they’re seeing an increase now. So what can you do to protect your kids?

RSV or Respiratory Syncytial Virus is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms in infants and young children. It infects the lungs and breathing passages and is very contagious.

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Symptoms include a runny nose, fever, cough, wheezing and shortness of breath. In mild cases, the virus often goes away on its own in one to two weeks, but in severe cases, a child may need to be hospitalized, often due to breathing problems. 

“We really didn’t see RSV all of last year. Starting in April, it completely disappeared and really did not appear until fairly recently,” said Dr. Camille Sabella. “Right now, it seems to be peaking in July and August, which is really very unusual for this virus.”

Since RSV is so contagious, it spreads through person-to-person contact, so washing your child’s hands is extremely important. It also lives on inanimate objects like toys or surfaces, so wiping things down and keeping things as clean as possible is important, too.