LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Aside from COVID-19, central Arkansas has spent most of the year without other widespread respiratory viruses, but now doctors say there’s a resurgence in these types of viruses, including RSV.
RSV cases are typically seen in the winter. They are brought on by a virus that causes wheezing and other breathing difficulties, typically in young kids.
Doctors say now is time to be extra vigilant, however, as some children are getting RSV and COVID-19 at the same time.
Russellville mom Jessica Honnell has been dealing with RSV in her family for more than a week now, noticing symptoms in 3-month-old Olivia first.
“She stopped sleeping well during the night, and over the weekend she progressively got worse,” Honnell said. “We knew going in that should she present problems breathing, it would be a very scary situation for us.”
After getting the diagnosis, baby Olivia started feeling better about 48 hours later. But then, Honnell said, her 5-year-old daughter Lexi spiked a fever soon after.
“I (was) feeling hot and cold at times because I had a fever and I had to take medicine like 8 hours a day,” the child recalled.
Dr. Jessica Snowden with Arkansas Children’s Hospital said she is seeing a resurgence in respiratory viruses, which is unusual for this time of the year.
“But now, we’re seeing it unusually in the summer because we are kind of rebounding from a year in masks,” Snowden said.
RSV is spread by coughing and touching infected surfaces.
“It can be really harmful in kids who have underlying health conditions,” Snowden warned.
Making things trickier for doctors to diagnose right now is the fact that there are multiple viruses going around central Arkansas all at the same time.
Even if the issues are not totally known, Snowden says if parents’ internal radar tells them something is wrong, they should take their child to a doctor.
Doctors say their best advice for everyone right now is to keep up with handwashing. They also say to be extra vigilant, wear a mask and encourage kids to do the same.
Good advice for parents like Honnell, who was worried about who could pick up the virus next.
“I also just wanted to be sure we weren’t spreading our germs to other people,” she said.