OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) - The Children's Hospital at OU Medicine is packed right now.
"I will say I've been doing this a long time and this is the worst season I have seen for RSV in my career as a pediatrician,” Casey Hester, M.D., The Children's Hospital Pediatrician, said.
In December, The Children's Hospital dealt with 85 RSV cases.
"We're on average seeing between 150 to 200 patients a day in the Children's ER. Our normal census is running about 100-120 the rest of the year," Katherine Grant, M.D., medical director for the ER, said.
Symptoms for respiratory syncytial virus include runny nose, fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.
It's common but can be especially dangerous in patients under 2-months-old with weaker immune systems.
"Anytime you think the infant or young child is not feeding well. If they look like they're having difficulty breathing. If they had a fever and looked poorly and you treated their fever with Tylenol or Ibuprofen, but they aren't perking up,” Grant said.
If your child only has two wet diapers a day, you should seek medical attention because they could be dehydrated.
"Infants are smart enough to know I can either eat or I can breathe and right now breathing is more essential than feeding,” Grant said.
Since it's viral, antibiotics won't work.
Doctors recommend suctioning the baby's nose with saline to help them breathe. The best way to prevent your child from getting RSV is to:
- Use hand gel with at least 60% alcohol
- Remind children to not touch their eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Don't kiss a baby on the face or hands
- Wash your hands often.
"You should be washing your hands a lot when you have a small infant at home. Nobody should be touching your baby before washing their hands,” Hester said.