In just the past two weeks, 400 kids have tested positive for RSV at Rady Children’s Hospital.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — RSV is hitting kids hard this year, in a way doctors say they haven’t seen before.

In just the past two weeks, 400 kids have tested positive for RSV at Rady Children’s Hospital.

Between that and all the other viruses going around, it’s led to long wait times in the emergency room.

“Hard, because there’s not much I can do and he’s just one year old so he’s not telling me what’s actually hurting,” said one mom waiting to see a doctor.

Her son has trouble sleeping, a decreased appetite, and a cough, all of which are RSV symptoms.

Other symptoms include a runny nose and fever.

Oftentimes, RSV looks like the common cold and in most cases, will go away on its own.

But, in younger kids, especially those under two—it can lead to something more serious.

“What RSV does especially in younger children is it causes inflammation in the lungs,” said Dr. John Bradley, Director of Infectious Diseases at Rady Children’s Hospital, where, right now, 40 kids are being admitted every week with RSV.

“A telling sign your kid has RSV is if their breathing appears fast or labored. Then you know the body is trying to get more pressure and more oxygen into the lung,” said Dr. Bradley.

According to the CDC, RSV leads to nearly 60,000 hospitalizations among kids under the age of five annually, and between 100-300 deaths nationwide.

Normally, doctors see RSV in December or January, but like the flu and other viruses, it’s spreading rapidly much earlier than expected.

“It’s as if every virus has a need to infect children and COVID has suppressed all of that and now that kids aren’t wearing masks and back seeing each other in school and playing and parties and sports, the viruses are taking advantage of that,” said Dr. Bradley.

That’s led to a surge of families seeking care, straining hospital resources.

Dr. Bradley says while Rady’s hasn’t had to turn anyone away, some families are having to wait several hours to be seen.

Regarding RSV, he suggests first checking with your primary care doctor, especially if your child only has mild symptoms.

But, if you notice the labored breathing he talked about, go to the ER.

RSV can be detected with a simple nasal swab.

There’s no treatment for it unless it leads to other things like pneumonia.

Older kids and adults can catch it too, but the symptoms aren’t as extreme unless they have underlying conditions or are over the age of 65.

Dr. Bradley says there could one day be medicine as well as a vaccine for RSV, both of which are in the works.

For more information on RSV, click here.

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