It's a virus that appears to be just a severe cold, but RSV can do a lot more damage, especially in infants and older adults. In Health Plus, what you need to know to protect your family.
Today at almost 2-years-old, Nicholas Allen is a happy toddler.
Jennifer Allen/son born prematurely "He's developing just great. He's almost caught up on everything."
But an early labor led to an emergency C-section that meant Nicholas was born prematurely by twelve weeks. His treatment left him with chronic lung disease and a newborn screening uncovered a metabolic disorder. That's why, especially this time of year, young children like Nicholas and older adults with compromised immune systems are more susceptible to complications from a cold-like virus called RSV.
Dr. Brian Sims/Covenant Clinic "It's been really tough with these little babies that are born recently who go get passed around the holiday party and everyone thinks it's so cute they all wanna play with the hands. And then those babies rub their eyes and before they know it the kids have a terrible cold and some of those babies have needed intensive care."
Sims says RSV is highly contagious and there is no vaccine for it. That's why high-risk patients like Nicholas get a preventive shot once a month.
Jennifer Allen/son born prematurely "While the RSV shot doesn't necessarily prevent getting it, it just helps lessen the severity of RSV if he would get it. It's a relief."
Sims says the majority of RSV cases are just like a really bad cold but when wheezing is involved it could be more serious. Bronchial problems or pneumonia can result.
So how to avoid RSV altogether?
Dr. Brian Sims/Covenant Clinic "The best way to prevent RSV is good handwashing and then keeping sick people who have really bad colds away from babies."
Fortunately for the Allens insurance covers the 34-hundred dollar, monthly shot to protect their son.
Sims says this time of year is the peak season for RSV.