RSV rise in Acadiana: How to protect your family

Posted at 6:09 PM, Dec 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-19 21:01:11-05

Lafayette is seeing an increase in RSV. The virus, also known as human respiratory syncytial virus, can be dangerous for children. It’s keeping nurses at Women’s and Children’s Hospital busy.

“I’ve been here for five years, and I would say over the past five years, this season has been the worst,” nurse Erica Piazza said.

Nurse Hannah Petitjean added, “We have so many that the hospital stays pretty full. We back up into the ER, admitting them.”

The two say this year’s RSV outbreak is comparable to least year’s flu season. In adults, the symptoms of RSV are similar to those of a bad cold.

However, it could be life threatening for infants.

“They come in with congestion, coughing and fever,” Piazza said. “Some get so bad they have trouble breathing. A lot of kids can end up with wheezing and pneumonia as well.”

Petitjean added, “It’s much more dangerous for the little bitty babies. It’s more severe because their lungs aren’t as developed as the older children.”

It’s recommended for adults with cold like symptoms to not interact with children who have a high risk of getting RSV. Those children include premature infants and children under the age of 2-years-old who have lung or heart conditions.

“The best things to do at home is do humidifiers as much as possible,” Piazza said. “That will help break up the mucus. Suctioning as much as possible, plenty of rest and plenty of fluids and if they have fever, treat it with Tylenol Motrin.”

RSV is highly contagious. In addition to staying away from children, health officials say washing hands and cleaning hard surfaces can help prevent the spread of the virus.

The nurses also recommend to not kiss or hug babies during the holiday’s to prevent the spread of the virus.