RSV, a respiratory virus, is spiking in the metro; it's even hospitalizing some children.
Oliver was four months old when he first came down with RSV. "He had wheezing with it (RSV) and a lot of retractions with it," Jessica Snowden said. "And retractions are where you can see pulling in between their ribs to breathe and it can be a very scary thing to see as a parent."
Snowden is Oliver's mom. She also works at Children's Hospital in Omaha. Inside the Infectious Disease Clinic, she sees children with RSV. "In older children, it tends to be a more severe cold than usual," Snowden said. "In younger children, they can actually show up with wheezing and more trouble breathing."
There isn't much she can do for the up tick in sick children coming into her office. "We can give them Tylenol and Motrin if they have a fever," Snowden said. "And then make sure they have plenty to drink. For most kids, inhalers like Albuterol or Nebulizers, which we use for children who wheeze with asthma, don't actually work for children who are wheezing with RSV."
Only time and the immune system are needed to get over the virus. "The symptoms will last about 10 days to three weeks depending on the child," Snowden said. "The thing that you will see the last to go is usually the runny nose and kind of the dry hacking cough. But, the worst part of the symptoms, the fever, the wheezing, is usually just the first seven to ten days."
Her advice: if parents sense their child isn't getting over the symptoms, take them to their pediatrician. Doctors can't give parents medication to give to their children, but they can give parents peace of mind that it isn't something worse.
Snowden says they have 18 kids at the hospital with RSV. Those who are hospitalized are typically younger, or have pre-existing lung disease, heart conditions or problems with their immune system. Most will stay home and recover on their own.