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Local nurse explains national rise in RSV cases

Nurse and professor, Kelly Stephenson, discusses RSV.
Nurse and professor, Kelly Stephenson, discusses RSV.(WHSV)
Published: Jun. 25, 2021 at 6:07 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA CO., Va. (WHSV) - Health officials say there has been an off-season spike in the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which mainly affects children.

“We have all been masked throughout this pandemic with COVID, so there were so many less respiratory cases outside of COVID that we were seeing,” said Kelly Stephenson, Sentara Emergency Services Department Nurse and Blue Ridge Community College Nursing Department Head.

Stephenson says RSV is going around right now because our immune systems are a little weak.

“I think that all of those illnesses that we have not seen over the past year are going to kind of try to come back with a vengeance this year because we don’t have that immunity from the exposure,” she said.

Stephenson says symptoms of RSV may include cold-like symptoms, loss of appetite, dehydration and fever.

“Be alert. What may seem like a common cold to most parents can turn into something that puts them in respiratory distress really fast,” said Stephenson.

Stephenson says a case of RSV is serious when the child has a blueish tint.

To stay safe, Stephenson recommends keeping up good hygiene, not letting people kiss your baby and staying hydrated.

Though RSV mostly affects babies, adults can get sick from it. Stephenson add that in adults, RSV usually causes other illnesses like pneumonia, which can be deadly to elderly people or people with comorbidities.

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