Doctors warn about spike in RSV cases in babies across metro Atlanta

Symptoms mimic the common cold and include runny nose, loss of appetite, coughing and wheezing.

ATLANTA — You may think it's just a cold, but it could become more. Doctors in metro Atlanta are seeing a spike in respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, in babies.

Symptoms mimic the common cold and include runny nose, loss of appetite, coughing and wheezing.

Channel 2 anchor Wendy Corona spoke Tuesday with local pediatricians, who said the respiratory illness can quickly get serious.

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"This year, I've seen way more kids hospitalized than in past years," said Dr. Jennifer Shu, with Children's Medical Group.

Shu says RSV is showing up strong and is currently more common than the flu in premature babies or babies less than 6 months old.

"It can be really more severe. It can cause kids to act like they have asthma. Unfortunately, none of the asthma medicines help them get better," she said.

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In order to prevent a visit to the waiting room, Shu said parents need to be aware of who gets close to their children.

"Anybody who wants to hold a baby needs to be super healthy and wash their hands first. Anybody who is sick should either stay away or at least 6 feet away because we know coughs and sneezes can sometimes travel that far," Shu said.

Babies with RSV can struggle with getting the oxygen they need and doctors don't want that to be ignored.

"It can cause just plain cold symptoms or it can cause fluid noise in the lungs," Shu said.

If your baby has a fever and trouble breathing or eating, Shu said that is reason enough to see a doctor.

Along with washing your hands often, the Atlanta-based Center for Disease Control and Prevention says follow these health tips:

  • Avoid touching your face
  • Avoid close contact with sick people
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces
  • Stay home if you're sick