LUBBOCK, Texas– RSV, the respiratory virus that causes severe illness in children under a year old, is in season, a Lubbock doctor said Thursday.
“It’s been a crazy RSV season. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this much RSV in the last 15 years,” Dr. Jeremy Dalton with Covenant Health said.
He told KLBK News that he didn’t see many cases of the virus last year, but saw a spike in cases during its off season beginning in July. Dr. Dalton said “it was a very late season.”
“I think what happened is COVID affected the seasonality of RSV,” Dr. Dalton theorized. “It altered the traditional RSV season, which is October to April.”
Dr. Dalton said “a huge portion” of the patient population has been children with RSV. He said he’s seen about 500 patients with the virus since July, guessing that the unusual timing might be related to people socializing more and without masks.
“So, that gave RSV a chance to spread where it didn’t have a chance last year,” Dr. Dalton said.
RSV is highly contagious among kids and is spread through person-to-person contact. Symptoms include runny nose, wheezing, coughing, and a decrease in appetite, according to the CDC.
“If they have high fever, or if they develop breathing [difficulties], then they need to be evaluated by their pediatrician,” Dr. Dalton recommended.
With COVID and flu season in full swing, the Lubbock doctor said he doesn’t know what to expect for the coming months– during the time that RSV is most common.
“But we’re ready to keep seeing patients with RSV and keep treating it,” he said.
Dr. Dalton recommended to always sneeze and cough into your sleeves, and never into your hands.
Hand washing and staying home while you or your children are sick can help prevent illnesses like RSV from spreading, he shared.