BSA Filled with RSV Cases

AMARILLO -- The pediatrics unit at BSA has been busy.  Beds have been filled for weeks with children who have come down with Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV.

"This year's been a pretty, pretty rough year for RSV," Shalea O'Kelly, RN, a nurse in the BSA Pediatrics ICU.

RSV attacks the lungs and airway, making it difficult for patients to breathe. The danger is usually exclusive to babies because their immune systems aren't developed. The virus can develop into pneumonia, or lead to asthma. In some cases it can even be deadly for babies and newborns.

Symptoms in babies include:

-struggling for breath
-turning blue or gray from lack of oxygen
-not eating or drinking, because of breathing problems

O'Kelly said that the there have been no ICU cases for about the last week, but other beds in the pediatrics unit have been full. Small children with the virus need breathing treatments and fluids to recover.

Anyone can catch the virus, but in adults and older children it presents itself like a common cold. The virus is also easily spread.

"A lot of little babies get it from siblings. They may go to daycare or they may go to preschool and they have a cough or cold and they pass it around. They come home and want to hug and kiss on their brothers or sisters. They pass along the germs."

You can take steps to minimize or prevent exposure, O'Kelly said.  She recommends keeping babies at home and avoiding busy, public places where germs spread easily. She also suggests keeping people with coughs or colds away from baby and washing hands frequently.

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