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Jonesboro pediatrician warns parents, RSV cases rising throughout Arkansas

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has reported a spike in RSV cases throughout the South, including the Natural State.
Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 10:26 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 1, 2021 at 10:54 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - The Center for Disease Control has detected a rise in cases of respiratory syncytial virus, commonly known as RSV, across the South.

RSV can occur in adults, but it primarily affects young children and infants.

Dr. Jane Sneed, a pediatrician for the Children’s Clinic in Jonesboro, says she has recently seen on average 5 to 10 RSV patients per week, noting it is a larger concern in children than COVID-19.

“Kids have taken COVID relatively well,” Dr. Sneed said. “But we know RSV is an illness that can make our babies very sick.”

The pediatrician mentioned cases of RSV can lead to hospitalization if it goes undetected, especially in newborn infants.

Some cases can be deadly to those with underlying conditions like “lung disease, heart disease, neuromuscular diseases, and immunodeficiencies.”

Dr. Sneed attributes some of the cases to parents becoming lax after COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, saying parents are not keeping children at home when they’re sick.

“I think people are less hesitant to send their kids to daycare if they have a runny nose and a cough,” she said.

In addition to a runny nose and cough, symptoms of RSV include fever, sneezing, a decrease in appetite, and wheezing, per the CDC.

The doctor says it is best to keep children at home and away from other children even if they have a runny nose, adding it could spread to other children in places like daycare or school.

If your child is experiencing RSV, Dr. Sneed recommends keeping them hydrated, monitor their breathing, and have them sleep in the same room as you at night so you can check on them every three to four hours.

She says RSV patients will not need to take cough suppressants or antibiotics because they are not effective.

The pediatrician also urges parents to continue to keep health practices in place like hand washing and keeping contact to a minimum.

“We need to be conscientious about not spreading an illness to someone that could be potentially fatal to them or land them in the hospital,” Dr. Sneed said.

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