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Doctors say rise in RSV cases "a medical mystery"

Virus not typically seen in summer months
Posted at 6:52 AM, Aug 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-23 07:52:14-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Health professionals are seeing cases of Respiratory Syncytial Virus, also known as RSV, rising in children across Texas. For most kids, symptoms are like the common cold. In some cases RSV can inflame the lungs and make it tough to breathe.

Doctors say the timing of the spike in cases happening right now around the country is a bit of a medical mystery, since RSV cases in the summer are rare. So, why the summer spike?

One theory is normally, older kids are exposed to RSV at school in winter months. Now with masks, social distancing and remote learning in the last school year, young immune systems didn't get a chance to build up a defense and with this surge in cases, doctors are warning parents to watch for red flags.

"Nostrils flaring, really moving the chest and stomach to breathe. Like, usually, we just breathe very easily with our chest. Babies can do something called grunting, where its very rhythmically with every breath," said pediatrician, Dr. Elizabeth Hawse.

Doctors say they worry kids who are exposed to the RSV may be more susceptible to the impacts of COVID-19.

To protect your family, doctors recommend anyone who's around kids get the COVID-19 vaccine, wear a mask indoors and if a child is sick, don't send them to school.