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RSV peaking earlier than usual, according to local doctor

RSV, a respiratory illness found in children, is on the rise across the country, worrying doctors and parents of young children.

DES MOINES, Iowa — As other states around the country see a rise in Respiratory Syncytial (RSV), a doctor at Blank Children's Hospital said they are seeing more of this virus earlier than they are used to. 

RSV is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. 

Dr. Amy Ferguson, a pediatric hospitalist at Blank Children's Hospital, said it's something they typically treat but she described this year as "odd."

"Usually we will see that kind of peak during our later winter months so November to December, but we're actually seeing a lot of it this week already…it definitely will put a strain on bed situations," Ferguson said. 

Nicole Stevens is a mother in the metro. Her now nine-week-old infant Shea had the virus at seven weeks old. 

"We took him in kind of to check up on a cough he'd been having for about five days," Stevens said. "And they checked him out and they immediately said, 'I don't like how he's breathing, so we're going to actually send you right down to Blank ER.'"

Stevens said Shea was hospitalized for six days. 

"They did put him on oxygen, they had an IV in him just in case he wasn't able to eat," she said. 

The mom of three noted she never thought her infant would be hooked up to tubes in the hospital, because it's something she never had to deal with, with her other children.

"It was a little overwhelming just because he's so small," Stevens said.

Since being home, Stevens said her son is doing much better and said all parents should trust their gut when it comes to their children.

"It's better to be safe than sorry," Stevens said. "If you have any concerns about breathing…then I think take them in."

Ferguson said some common symptoms parents should look out for include:

  • a cough that persists for days
  • being tired
  • congestion
  • having short shallow breaths

She also said if parents suspect their kids of having RSV and haven't had them checked out by their pediatrician, keep them hydrated. This way it's easier to suction snot out of their nose.

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