3 things to know about RSV in children, including when to go to the ER

Cases of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, are rising in Oklahoma, where the virus season is off to an early start.

More tests are coming back positive for RSV across Oklahoma, and it’s circulating in every part of the state, health officials said Tuesday.

The virus tends to hit children the hardest, and it’s already putting a strain on hospitals’ bed capacities. Here’s what to know about how RSV looks, how it’s treated and when it’s time to seek emergency care.

More:Oklahoma will allow hospitals to use adult beds for kids amid surge in RSV cases

Common symptoms of RSV

Symptoms of RSV can look like many other respiratory virus symptoms: Children may have a runny or stuffy nose, a cough and a fever, said Dr. Cameron Mantor, chief medical officer of Oklahoma Children’s Hospital. OU Health

Other symptoms include wheezing, sneezing and a decreased appetite, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What is the treatment for RSV?

There’s no specific treatment for RSV. Nor is there a vaccine to prevent it, though that could change by next year.

At home, families can manage RSV symptoms with over-the-counter fever and pain reducers and making sure a child stays hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.

Children who end up admitted to the hospital for RSV often are admitted because of dehydration, Mantor said. There, the hospital can offer supportive treatment like IV fluids, nutritional support and breathing treatments or oxygen, he said.

When to call the doctor or go to the ER when a child has RSV

If a child has a fever that’s not going away or other symptoms that last for four or five days without getting better, it’s worth a call to your child’s pediatrician, Mantor said.

Parents also should seek medical care for their child if the child is struggling to breathe, having difficulty keeping fluids down or doesn’t seem to want to eat.

“Lastly, if your child is bluish around the lips, not responding, hard to wake up, those are absolutely signs” to seek emergency care, Mantor said.

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: 3 things to know about RSV in children, including when to go to the ER