Respiratory virus on the rise, could be deadly

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LINCOLN, Ark. (KNWA) — A deadly childhood virus that mimics a common cold might be on the rise.

It’s a very serious cause of morbidity and mortality in children and infants.

Dr. Swetha Kadali, Northwest Internal Medicine Bentonville

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) may feel like the common cold for adults, but for babies and people over 50 — it could be deadly, according to Northwest Internal Medicine Bentonville Doctor Swetha Kadali.

“You need to be more cautious when you have infants or younger kids at home because what might be a mild illness for you might turn out to be serious,” Dr. Kadali said.

Charity Abbott of Lincoln has a two-year-old boy and a two-month-old girl with the virus.

“We’ve just fought off fevers and a cough over and over again since the last week of November,” she said. “By Monday everyone was sick.”

Abbott almost decided to take the kids to the ER.

Courtesy of Charity Abbott

“I think we are on the tail end of it,” she said.

Now that both of her kids are doing okay, Abbott urges people of all ages to be extra cautious when they are sick, even if you think it’s just a common cold.

“Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize, sanitize,” she said. “With the fever whether it’s there or not, they can still be contagious.”

Symptoms of RSV include: (Source: CDC)

  • Runny nose
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Wheezing

Dr. Kadali said to stop the spread of the virus, make sure you wash your hands and cover your mouth.

She said RSV season is from October to April.

KNWA reached out to several daycares around Northwest Arkansas who said they are taking precautions to help stop the spread.

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