Respiratory virus that can cause serious issues for babies spiking in the South

ATLANTA — While COVID-19 numbers continue to rise across Georgia, doctors now say you should be on the lookout for another viral illness spiking in the South right now.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV, is mild in most adults and children, but can have serious effects on babies.

“It’s essentially a virus that infects the lungs,” said WellStar pediatrician Dr. Hebah Pranckun. “It can manifest in simple symptoms like cough, congestion, runny nose. But in younger kids, typically less than six months, it’s not so straightforward. It can add, like, just severe fatigue or poor feeding.”

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Dr. Pranckun says one theory as to why RSV is becoming more prevalent now is because people are starting to lower their guards against COVID-19.

“People began getting vaccinated, we laxed on our social distancing. And therefore, we started seeing the virus that we typically see more so in late fall through early spring,” she told Channel 2 anchor Jorge Estevez.

She recommends following the same protocols we used to fight against COVID-19 to fight against RSV.

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“We go back to our same three W’s that we like to use: Wear your mask, wash your hands, watch your distance,” she said.

Dr. Pranckun says doing these things have not only helped fight against COVID-19, but have helped decrease several viral illnesses over the past year.