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Protecting kids from contagious RSV virus

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Cases of RSV, respiratory syncytial virus are more common this time of year. Some hospitals nationwide are reporting an rise in cases.

The CDC said 57,000 kids under the age of five are hospitalized each year.

Health officials said the virus is very contagious and symptoms are similar to the flu.

Symptoms of RSV include runny nose, a decrease in appetite, and a cough.

Blessing Hospital pediatrician Dr. Olumide Faniyan recommends that parents watch out for your child's exposure to the virus.

Also, make sure no one else is kissing your baby or touching their face or hands. He says that's one of the many ways that it can spread.

"The importance of prevention cannot be overemphasized," Dr. Olumide Faniyan said. "The need for people to watch their hands regularly and to stay away from other children with symptoms, needs to be emphasized."

Dr. Faniyan said early detection can also make a big difference.

"Parents usually bring them in early and we are able to provide measures that help relieve their anxiety and also provide supportive care at home so they don't need to be hospitalized," Faniyan said. "For those that come in, we usually provide the best support that we can."

There is not a vaccine to prevent RSV, but doctors say they can do a mouth swab to determine if someone has the flu or RSV.

Doctors also note while children and senior citizens are more susceptible, anyone can get the virus.

Click here for a new report from the CDC on Illinois trends.

Here are tips from the CDC for parents to protect you and your kids:

  • Wash your hands often
    Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Washing your hands will help protect you from germs.
  • Keep your hands off your face
    Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Germs spread this way.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people
    Avoid close contact, such as kissing, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who have cold-like symptoms.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
    Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Throw the tissue in the trash afterward.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces
    Clean and disinfect surfaces that people frequently touch, such as doorknobs. When people infected with RSV touch surfaces and objects, they can leave behind germs. Also, when they cough or sneeze, droplets containing germs can land on surfaces and objects.
  • Stay home when you are sick
    If possible, stay home from work, school, and public areas when you are sick. This will help protect others from catching your illness.
Protect Your Child from RSV - CDC

Don Dwyer

Don Dwyer is a Morning Anchor/Reporter at WGEM.

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