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WellSpan physician talks RSV spike, fall diseases

The Pa. Department of Health has announced that RSV cases are increasing among kids in the state and nationwide at levels that are higher than usual.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases are increasing at a higher-than-normal rate for this time of year.

WellSpan Health's Dr. Vinitha Moopen joined FOX43 to talk more about diseases that are on the rise this fall, including RSV, COVID-19 and the flu.

"Right now, we're seeing a majority of RSV and other upper respiratory viruses," the physician said.

There is currently no vaccine for RSV, but Dr. Moopen recommends getting vaccinated against the illnesses you can, like COVID-19 and the flu.

While these sicknesses are going around, RSV is the top concern for healthcare professionals at the moment—hospitals nationwide and in our area are being strained with the influx of cases.

"We've seen a few [COVID-19 cases] here and there but we haven't seen a spike recently; it's been more RSV and adenoviruses," she said.

The CDC defines adenoviruses as "common viruses that typically cause mild cold- or flu-like illness."

Dr. Moopen said the best way to deal with these illnesses is to let them run their course and treat the symptoms with over-the-counter medicine, honey to soothe the throat and the usual home remedies.

It may be time to seek professional care if the sickness lasts for more than a few days or if the patient is showing signs of respiratory distress.

"In babies, that is: they can't drink their bottle, they have rapid breathing, some belly breathing," the doctor said. "In older kids: they can't speak in sentences, they have rapid breathing, again, the belly breathing, or retractions... or if they're not able to keep fluids down."

To prevent illness and a necessary trip to the clinic, Dr. Moopen says to follow the usual guidelines for keeping yourself healthy.

"Wash your hands, clean and disinfect surfaces, if you're sick stay home," she said. "Especially for preschool kids, if your child is sick, please keep them home so they're not spreading the infection to anyone else."

RSV affects young kids and elderly adults the most prevalently, but anyone can get it.

If your child needs to be seen by a doctor at WellSpan, make an appointment at WellSpan.org/GetCare.   

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