© 2024
Virginia's Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

While Virginia tracks COVID, other respiratory viruses are attacking

In adults, respiratory syncytial virus or RSV is like a cold, but Dr. Tiffany Kimbrough, a pediatrician and medical director of the Complex Care Unit at VCU says it can be deadly for kids under five and adults over 65.

VCU pediatrician Tiffany Kimbrough
Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center
VCU pediatrician Tiffany Kimbrough

“You’re going to have cough, runny nose, sometimes poor appetite or fever, but when we get worried about RSV is if it is starting to cause airway inflammation and we can see breathing faster or struggling to breathe.”

While there’s no medication to cure the illness, hospitals can treat fever, dehydration and difficulty breathing. The virus usually runs its course in a week or two.

Kimbrough says the prevalence of RSV in 11% of those tested can be traced to children back in school and a population that has stopped worrying so much about catching COVID.

“For the past two years we’ve had a lot of infection control measures in place which are not just for COVID. We actually saw a deep decrease in other viruses.”

To avoid RSV, flu and other respiratory infections, she advises all of us to wear masks inside and to wash hands often during cold and flu season which continues through March.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Sandy Hausman is Radio IQ's Charlottesville Bureau Chief