LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Las Vegas doctors are warning parents of RSV, respiratory syncytial virus, a respiratory virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages.
Brady Sahakian, 23, is a new parent and he lets his 2-year-old son play at a park near Centennial Hills Hospital in Las Vegas. He says that his son has avoided a severe cold so far.
“If the kid is out in public, wipe his hands down. Make sure everything that he comes in contact with is clean. Try to stay away from random strangers,” Sahakian said.
Sahakian said he and his wife are already thinking about his son’s preschool for when he is old enough to enroll.
“A clean environment, you know. No kids running around with runny noses, that kind of thing,” Sahakian said.
Dr. Michael Tenby of Centennial Pediatrics says RSV infections are high and arriving earlier this year.
“We saw a lot of it in October and it’s continuing full force even though it’s earlier in the year and it’s not so cold yet,” Dr. Tenby said.
RSV symptoms are similar to a cold but more severe and infants tend to also experience wheezing.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 58,000 children under the age of five are hospitalized with RSV each year. The virus can lead to severe bronchitis or pneumonia for those in that age bracket.
The Hill and Dale Child Development Center in the southeast valley have had no children who have been sick with RSV.
Tamy Gates, the director of the preschool, said it is due to them having smaller class sizes and the school prioritizing cleanliness.
“Because of the small groups, they have time to clean,” Gates said. “They have time to sanitize. They have time to follow through on hand washing, and that matters, that matters a lot.”
Gates added that the staff pays attention to the kids and picks up on signs when they seem to be under the weather.
“When they’re off, send them to get their temperature,” Gates said. “We know the consequences, one child is sick, then all children are sick, we’re sick, and nobody is happy.”
If a child is not feeling well, daycares recommend keeping them home to prevent the students and staff from getting infected.
“If they’re working hard to breathe then they may be having some more trouble, and they should see their physician or go to the emergency room,” Dr. Tenby said.