Louisiana sees an uptick in RSV cases

As RSV cases surge in the capital region, one of the big indicators is shortness of breath.
Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 5:31 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 26, 2022 at 8:45 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - As cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) surge in the Capital Region, one of the big indicators is shortness of breath.

Illnesses more common during colder seasons aren’t just limited to cold and flu, doctors say to expect RSV cases to go up too.

“We are definitely seeing an uptick in the number of cases of RSV, you know both here in the Baton Rouge area and across the country. This is resulting in an increase of hospitalizations for some of our youngest patients,” said Dr. James Wayne, who is the executive director of pediatrics for Ochsner Baton Rouge.

Last week, the Louisiana Department of Health calculated the RSV percent for the state, and Louisiana has a total of 13.2 percent.

Doctors say RSV can be concerning for the elderly and young children.

“The issue with RSV is that it causes congestion and inflammation in the airwaves. Our younger babies, their airwaves are already very small. When you add inflammation and mucus on top of that, constriction of the airways makes it more difficult to breathe,” explained Wayne.

Wayne also said RSV can often start off like the common cold of allergies, and it can be hard to tell the difference between some illnesses.

“It’s hard to differentiate between flu, RSV Covid-91, the symptoms are all similar,” added Wayne.

He noted one common symptom one will likely see in babies and children with RSV is difficulty breathing.

“With RSV, it’s important t look for signs of increased work of breathing things like a fast breathing rate. If your baby is breathing more than one breath a second or 60 breaths in a minute. Another symptom that they will have when working hard is retractions when the skin sucks in here at the neck or between the ribs or below the ribs when they are taking a breath in,” continued Wayne.

He pointed out that the best way to prevent RSV is to make sure folks are washing their hands, and distancing themselves from someone who might be sick.

RSV is spread easily by sneezing or coughing. Wayne suggests that those concerned reach out to their doctor if they think they are infected.

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