LUBBOCK, Texas — An early emergence of the respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is hitting children in the Hub City.
“We’re accustomed to seeing very sick children with RSV but not during the summer,” said Dr. David Gray, Chief Medical Officer at Covenant Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Richard Lampe, Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist for Texas Tech Physicians at Covenant Children’s, said the populations wearing a mask last year to protect against COVID, kept children from getting respiratory infections such as RSV in the winter. However, he said now that masks are not utilized as often, cases of RSV have been on the rise since April.
“It has just gone up and up and up such that we now recommend for premature babies, who are eligible, to receive a certain treatment before they leave the neonatal intensive care unit. It’s called Synagis, and it’s a way to prevent RSC in those very at-risk premature infants,” said Dr. Lampe.
Tiffany Lilly-Essix said her 2-year-old, who was born premature, contracted the virus a month ago.
“She was almost out of day care almost a month, with running high fever we couldn’t control it, temperature was over 100 almost every day, cough, runny nose,” said Lilly-Essix.
Dr. Lampe said it is important to practice handwashing. People could contract RSV by touching other respiratory infections from people such as runny noses or by picking up a child or even touching your eyes.
Dr. Lampe said adults could also get RSV but that it affects children the most because they have smaller lungs, whereas adults, who have bigger lungs, generally suffer a bad cold.
Dr. Lampe said the virus should last a few days and that there is no cure for the virus.
“The only reason they ever have to come into the hospital is often for oxygen, breathing too fast, and they need oxygen,” said Dr. Lampe. “So, oxygen and if the baby doesn’t need to be in the hospital, then it’s fluids, and if they have a fever, they can use some things like acetaminophen otherwise known as Tylenol or ibuprofen, otherwise known as Advil in the appropriate dose for that child’s weight and age.
Dr. Lampe said with COVID on the rise along with RSV, certain steps should be taken to prevent both.
“We should attack on both sides, we should use the immunization, the same thing about handwashing works for prevention with RSV and for COVID,” said Dr. Lampe, “and do our best to preserve those beds for people who really need them in the hospital.”