LITTLE ROCK, Ark — Arkansas Children's Hospital is seeing an increase in the number of babies coming in to be treated for respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.
"I have no idea why we're seeing so many cases now," Dr. Whit Hall said.
Dr. Whit Hall is a neonatologist at UAMS. He says although RSV is severe, it is treatable, especially when caught early.
"There is a drug that can help make the symptoms of RSV much less," he said.
RSV is the most common cause of the common cold. It does not affect adults as much as it does a young baby, especially newborns. So, if you have a cold and touch a baby, there's a chance you can pass along RSV.
"A younger child, particularly a younger child under two years of age will often time shave significant issues with wheezing and respiratory distress," Dr. Hall said. "In fact, many children have to be put on a ventilator, we have to actually help them breathe.”
There is no vaccine to prevent RSV, but Dr. Hall said it is something doctors are working on. This is why it is so important to practice good hygiene and to keep your hands clean.
"If a baby is a graduate of the neonatal intensive care unit, or if they're on oxygen or have other issues, it would be best to avoid even being around a child like that," Dr. Hall said.
Jason Mitchell's newborn daughter Paisley is just one of the babies at Arkansas Children's fighting RSV. He noticed his daughter breathing heavily over the weekend.
"I know that under two months old, the respirations should be 50, but when I would count on her it was 90," Mitchell said.
That's when he knew his daughter was extremely sick.
"Right underneath her rib cage would sink in and it would just be very rapid," he said.
Mitchell hopes more parents will be extra careful around their newborns this time of year.
"It's that simple. Just keep germs away from your baby," he said.