Hospitals reporting increase in respiratory illness

One downside to the chilly weather is the sickness it brings. Doctors are reporting a rise in a respiratory virus that can last for weeks and result in some children needing to be hospitalized.       

Baylor Scott and White Health System reports a 30 percent increase of RSV in the past week. That includes the clinic of Cedar Park Pediatrician Goddy Corpuz.

"RSV is respiratory syncytial virus. It is a cold virus. It accounts for 10-15 percent of all cold viruses we see this time of the year,” said Corpuz.

Corpuz says symptoms start with a runny nose, sniffles, cough and can lead to problems breathing which are especially concerning for those under two years of age.

"RSV is notorious for a lot of mucus productions, secretions and well known in causing wheezing in infants. When you have infants or younger children whose cough mechanisms are not well developed they can have a lot of respiratory issues,” said Corpuz.

When those issues become severe families will report to emergency rooms.

"The last few days it's been quite busy,” said Dr. Coburn Allen.

Dr. Coburn Allen, director of pediatric emergency at Dell Children's Medical Center in Austin says cases have increased during recent weeks. By the time he sees a patient, RSV has turned into a worse condition called bronchiolitis.

"It can, about 1 in every 10 children it drops into their lungs usually the third or fourth day of the illness,” said Allen. “Starts to cause wheezing and other respiratory sounds in the lungs consistent with the lungs being infected. When that happens one in every 10 children will be hospitalized."

The average time of illness is two to three weeks. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, both doctors advise you stay home to keep those most at risk safe.

"We don't want it spreading to those with weakened immune systems that can potentially have a serious illness from it or even die from it or end up in the hospital,” said Corpuz.

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