AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — When it comes to illness and viral defense, the winter months are a critical time of year for health leaders.

“I’d say this at this point in the season, we’re about to get into the worst of it,” said Dr. Anders Leverton M.D., a Texas Tech Physicians Pediatrician. “RSV is a virus, abbreviated for respiratory syncytial virus. It’s known for affecting the very young and the elderly, and it usually causes respiratory problems.”

Dr. Leverton told KAMR viral cases tend to spike around this time of year, and the RSV virus should get just as much attention as other viruses like the flu or COVID-19.

He said RSV is especially concerning in infants and young children because they don’t have immunity built up.

So what do symptoms look like?

“It’s gonna start out as most children illnesses do with a cough and a runny nose. What tends to happen with RSV over the ensuing days, we’re gonna get worse. They’re gonna start breathing heavy, you might be able to see their ribs retracting more,” he explained.

Health professionals told us if you can catch it early enough, a visit to the doctor might not be necessary.

“Vicks on the chest or the back or the feet, you know can help to open up the airways to allow breathing to be easier,” said Dr. Frederick Poag, the Medical Director for NWTHS Emergency Care. “Another very important thing that you can do at home is simply a nasal spray.”

Dr. Poag demonstrated for us, how location is everything when it comes to nasal sprays.

“The better way to use a nasal spray, is actually to put it on the opposite side point, you can see it pointing out point to the outside of the eye here and then spray it and it’s going to flush all of these pair nasal sinuses. And that’s where all the drainage is coming from,” he explained.

For more information on RSV in our area, click here.