(WXYZ) — You may have heard a lot about RSV recently. It’s a common but highly contagious respiratory virus, and RSV season typically runs from October through April.
Most children get it and recover on their own, but early on, this RSV season is proving to be far from normal.
It’s sending children to the hospital and it’s only one of the viruses and bacteria hitting kids hard at the start of the cold and flu season.
"I could see it in her eyes, was very glassy and my main concern was that she was still coughing," Sara Walker said.
Her 3-year-old daughter is recovering from the virus, and she said all three of her kids had the virus over time.
Oakland county mom Sara Walker says over time all three of her kids have had RSV. This season one of her 3 years old twins was struggling to breathe and had to be hospitalized.
"or her, breathing seemed to be much more labored. Her breath was more rapid," Walker said.
She took her daughter to urgent care, then the ER where she was admitted and put on oxygen.
"We stayed a couple of days at Beaumont, she was on oxygen through the night. They gave her a few rounds of steroids and of course, a lot of breathing treatments," she said.
Pediatrician Salvatore Ventimiglia with Shelby Pediatrics says the surge of RSV is also earlier than normal and hitting hard.
Symptoms can be similar to that of the common cold with fever, runny nose and cough. But it’s the wheezing and breathing challenges that may cause little kids to stop eating. And that's dangerous.
If you notice labored breathing, coughing that leads to vomiting or fewer wet diapers – get help.
"Those tend to be the most worrisome signs. And those are the symptoms that they should be seen right away," he said.
Dr. Scott Grant with Children's Hospital of Michigan says RSV is one of the most common causes for hospitalizations in infants and toddlers. He says Rhinovirus is another big player.
"hey can definitely spike fevers and they cannot eat or drink as well and need some IV fluids and those kinds of things. So, we certainly see those kids being admitted to the hospital as well," Grant said.
If there are no breathing problems, you'll want to manage symptoms with over-the-counter medicine and offer plenty of fluid.
"The hydration piece is really the most important things that parents have control over at home," he said.
Fluid is also key with enterovirus which affects the GI tract. It’s more commonly a summertime virus but is still circulating.
The good news, the early season surge of RSV and Rhinovirus doesn’t necessarily mean it will be worse from here. An August - September surge last year prompted similar fears that never materialized.
So how do you protect your loved one from RSV and other respiratory viruses?
Frequent hand washing for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or Hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eye, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid sick people and that may mean keeping your kids apart if one is showing signs of being under the weather
Finally, flu season is arriving, and it is not too late to get the annual flu shot for kids six months and up