RSV dangers

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville-area doctors are seeing a spike in cases of RSV, and expect those numbers to rise after the holidays.

Norton Healthcare reports 651 cases of RSV since September, a number that has more than doubled since Thanksgiving and tripled from this time last year.

Anyone can catch RSV, but the virus, which affects the upper respiratory system, can be dangerous for babies and children under 2.

"We're certainly seeing a higher spike in RSV early, and we're having a lot of children in the hospital as well due to complications," said Dr. April Mattingly, a pediatrician at Norton Children's Crestwood. "RSV, for you or I, might be nothing but a cold. But as pediatricians, we worry about younger kids especially."

Because babies can't cough up mucus like adults can, it can lead to potentially serious infections.

"If your baby is breathing more than 50-60 times a minute, if you see their muscles sinking in the ribs (retractions), babies having a difficult time feeding, not making good, wet diapers, acting fussier than normal, any of those concerns is a good reason to see a pediatrician," Mattingly said.

Since Thanksgiving, area doctors have seen a spike in patients with RSV and expect to treat more in the coming weeks because of holiday get-togethers.

"It's especially important for parents to not be afraid to set boundaries," Mattingly said. "If you're concerned there's a lot of relatives who are sick, it's OK to not be around them this time of year. We are seeing a lot of flu as well, and that's spreading really quickly.

"It's OK to say no, even if you hurt some feelings, unfortunately."

RSV season lasts until April. Parents can find more resources here.

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