We have heard our fair share of news about diseases. There is no doubt that COVID-19 “stole the show.” It is easy to see why this global pandemic became the center of attention during these uncertain times; however, it is not the only disease-causing havoc on Americans.
In the southern U.S. specifically, many parents encountered a record-number respiratory syncytial virus.
What Is Respiratory Syncytial Virus?
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a disease that attacks the respiratory system. Generally, babies and immunocompromised individuals are more at risk for the disease. Symptoms typically consist of mild, cold-like symptoms. Many times they don’t even require any medical attention.
In more severe cases, heavy breathing and extreme respiratory issues result in hospitalization.
Is RSV Unusual?
RSV generally has a spike every year; however, the timing and intensity of the occurrences are a bit off. Last year, the disease hardly had any cases at all. However, suddenly, it seems that numbers spiked out of nowhere.
While it may seem like a mystery at first, a little investigation cues experts on where these numbers come from. During the pandemic, people were socially distanced and wore masks. The result was preventing a lot more than corona alone.
Think back to how less you got sick during this time of social isolation and intense disinfection. Our exposure to pathogens dropped significantly. For some babies born during this time, this meant that a reduced exposure left their immune systems a bit underprepared for the loosening of social distancing measures.
In no way whatsoever does this mean that social distancing is terrible for babies. It helps prevent a lot of diseases. RSV was always a potential problem, and while the virus surge is at a different time and a little more intense than pre-pandemic numbers, there are measures to help keep it under control.
Should Parents Worry About RSV Infections?
While parents should undoubtedly keep these infections in mind, they don’t need to live in fear over the conditions. In many cases, the disease is manageable and avoidable. Taking some precautions and keeping an eye out for the warning signs of the disease are essential measures to reducing the impact of the disease.
Generally, monitor your child’s behavior as you always should. Be sure to notice any severe symptoms (such as intense lethargy or problems breathing). Bring your child to seek emergency medical care at any sign of serious illness or complications.
If anyone was in a situation that exposed them to the disease, they should avoid contact with potentially vulnerable children.
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