RSV cases spike early in 2022

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Officials at Sparrow Hospital are seeing a rise in cases of the respiratory virus known as RSV among children.

RSV or ‘respiratory syncytial virus’ hit early this year, setting new records through the month of October.

And while officials aren’t quite sure why, they think it may have to do with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I thought my baby just had a little cough and it almost cost my son his life,” said Katie Doll, a parent of a child with RSV.

Katie doll’s son, Jacob, contracted RSV when he was only three weeks old. He was in Sparrow hospital for 10 days, and doctors told her that his fate was up in the air.

“They basically told us there was nothing they could do and the fight was all on my son,” she said.

Doll is one of many mothers facing this kind of situation right now.

Doctors have found more cases in each week of October this year than in any week in the last two years.

Officials speculate that it may be due to the social distancing efforts since 2020 which led to lower numbers of RSV cases and fewer kids with immunity to the virus.

“We are seeing this virus just a little bit earlier in the past couple of years, some of that probably has to do with masking and kids not getting it previous seasons, and it’s just about a month early this year,” said pediatrician Samantha Yamil.

Officials say they typically see a rise in cases around November and March but we may see an uptick when people begin moving indoors due to the colder weather.

They advise everyone to keep an eye out for the telltale signs.

“It’s really important especially in the kids under two, if you really start seeing them have difficulty breathing or breathing with their belly, sucking in between their ribs, these are all signs of pretty significant respiratory distress,” said Dr. Yamil.

Dolly says acting early, can be the difference between life and death.

“A lot of the young moms don’t know what they are looking for… Please please please keep your babies indoors, do not let anybody kiss or hug them that you think is sick. A lot of moms don’t understand, once it gets to that point it’s really not up to the doctor, it’s up to your baby, and I think that is one of the scariest things your doctor can tell you,” said Dr. Yamil.

Officials say in order to prevent the spread of RSV, people should wash their hands often and ensure anyone coming in contact with their child has washed their hands. If your child or anyone else in your home isn’t feeling well, they should remain at home.

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