What signs doctors say to look for as RSV cases spike
Oct 21, 2022, 7:43 PM | Updated: Nov 15, 2022, 6:31 pm
SALT LAKE CITY — RSV is spiking across the country and the virus is coming earlier than it usually does.
Dr. Per Gesteland at University of Utah and Primary Children’s Hospital said it could be due to COVID-19.
“We think this unusual timing probably relates to the pandemic,” he said.
Gesteland said RSV looks like a cold at first, with symptoms like coughing and fewer wet diapers.
He said if your child starts breathing fast, and if their lips or tongue starts turning blue, then you need to take your child to the hospital immediately.
“When it turns blue, it means it’s a sign of low oxygen.” he said.
One local mother noticed her son was breathing fast when he was just 3 weeks old.
“It didn’t seem normal,” said Danielle Wilson.
She said she took her son to her pediatrician, and while they were there, his oxygen level dropped below 65 and he stopped breathing. Luckily, the nurses were there to put oxygen on him right away to wake him up.
He stayed in the hospital for six days and is now healthier than ever.
“If I would have ignored those feelings that I had, I don’t think he would be with us today,” Wilson said. “You just can’t be too careful with babies, especially young ones. If you think something is wrong, just take them in.”
Gesteland said to help prevent the spread, he suggests precautions like COVID-19 — cover your mouth when you cough, stay home when you are sick, and wash your hands frequently.
Utah hospitals are starting to be overwhelmed with RSV cases and it’s a trend that could last all winter if we don’t change our behaviors.
Primary Children’s Hospital has been running on the brink of full capacity.
“If the numbers increase over the next two weeks, which we expect they will, then we really are going to be in a serious situation in terms of hospital capacity,” Doctor Andrew Pavia, director of Epidemiology at Primary Children’s Hospital said.
He said flu shots, COVID-19 boosters, and hand-washing can all lighten the load.